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Young players knocking on the door, says Brett

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Academy coach Brett Deacon is looking for a number of Leicester Tigers' young players to make the step into the senior set-up after finishing third in the Premiership Rugby / RFU U18 Academy Finals.Tigers’ Under-18s beat Bath Rugby 41-12 in the third place play-off at Allianz Park and Deacon is challenging players to follow in the footsteps of Dan Cole, Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi.   Centre Charlie Thacker has already made his debut in the LV= Cup and Deacon expects more players in his squad to tread that path.   “Consistently we’re producing players year on year for the first team so we’re doing a good job,” said the former Tigers back row.   “We always expect several players to go onto the senior squad and that won’t be changing this year, we’ve got three or four knocking on the door.”   In difficult conditions first-half scores from Thacker, Owen Hills and a Paolo Odogwu double gave the Tigers a lead at the interval.   Will Sutton and Zak Poole then rounded off victory for Leicester, with full-back Sutton also adding 11 points with the boot. Click here for highlights of the game.   And Deacon was delighted with the level of performance.   “We asked for a complete performance for 70 minutes and we definitely got that, we controlled the ball and got territory, then we executed when we needed to,” he added.   “I think our set piece was very good, we got over the gain line and our driving play from line out was really good as well.”   The Academy Finals day gives young players the opportunity to play at a Premiership ground in a pressure situation.   And Deacon feels the Under-18 league can only benefit the development of Aviva Premiership Rugby’s future stars.   “The competition is really good and hopefully they’ll be playing against each other in five or six years’ time in the Premiership,” said Deacon.   “You have to win every game in this league but long term it’s about developing players and getting as many of them in the first team as we can.   “Our season has been up and down and for me I’d like the league to be a bit longer, maybe home and away fixtures.”