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Like father, like son in a Tigers shirt

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The Leicester Tigers squad for Saturday's match against Loughborough University includes four sons of former first-team players at Welford Road, showing the power of the Tigers Family.Matt Smith, Harry Thacker, Simon Povoas and Fred Tuilagi all represent a current link with notable Tigers families.   There are 23 examples of father-and-son combinations in the club’s first-team history, most notably the likes of England internationals Nick, Tom and Ben Youngs; Phil and Sam Vesty; Tom, David, John and Richard Berry; and Matt and Ian Smith who became the first to each make 100 starts for the club in its 135-year history.   Even by Tigers standards, having four sets in one matchday squad is remarkable.   Ian Smith (‘Dosser’ as he is known throughout rugby) made 331 first-team appearances in the Tigers back row, including five Cup Finals in the days before league competition, while Matt is already a three-time Premiership title winner.   Harry Thacker has established himself in the first-team squad, playing at hooker like his dad Troy, who is well known in the city both as a former player and as a teacher and rugby coach. For good measure, younger brother Charlie is highly rated in the club’s Academy too while older brother Dan played in age-group sides and worked in the club’s community department.   Simon Povoas, father of academy back-rower Oliver, scored 64 tries in 135 games for Tigers 1986-93 and made quite a name for himself despite being unfortunate enough to play No8 at the same time as the legendary Dean Richards. Oliver came through schools and junior rugby in the county to join the academy and has also gained national age-group recognition.   There is nothing new about seeing a Tuilagi on the Tigers teamsheet – that has been a regular feature for the last 15 years. Now there is a new one.   Fred Tuilagi is a young No8, not just at Tigers but also in the famous rugby family. This weekend he will become the eighth member of the Samoan family to wear the Tigers colours, following in the giant bootsteps of dad Freddie, uncles Henry, Alesana, Anitelea, Vavae and Manu, and older brother Brian.   That is a remarkable collection, and that is without including young fly-half Jacob Umaga whose father Mike is a former Samoa international well known in English rugby after spells at Rotherham, Nuneaton, Coventry and Stourbridge. Jacob’s uncle is former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga.