Change of tack now… we’re going to the dark side as Lauren tries to prove that team rivalry doesn’t blind her to the quality of a player by profiling Tom Croft of Ospreys arch rivals Leicester Tigers.
Thomas Richard ‘Crafty Crofty’ Croft is 24 years old, 6’5”, 16st 5lbs and plays at both flanker and lock for Leicester Tigers, England and the Lions.
Hailing originally from Basingstoke, Tom Croft’s rugby career began at Newbury RFC in Berkshire before Leicester Tigers snapped him up in 2005 at the tender age of 19.
Dubbed as one of the fastest forwards around, Crafty Crofty is one of the ultimate utility players, meaning he plays both blind and openside flanker and also at lock, but takes on each position with the speed and agility of a back.
All this means that despite stiff competition for back row slots in the England squad, Tom has quickly become a regular fixture in the match day line up since his first cap for Saxons in 2007.
In 2009, after Alan Quinlan’s unfortunately timed ban, Tom was called up by Ian McGeechan to take his place on the Lions Tour, where he went on to play in all three tests and became the first forward ever to gain two tries in one test.
Croft’s versatility is one of the reasons Leicester tigers have become the team to beat in recent years, with the last two Guinness premiership trophies in their cabinet and seemingly only the Ospreys able to stop them in the Heineken cup (sorry, couldn’t resist!) so it’s clear to see we’ll be seeing a lot of Crofty over the course of the season.
Words by Lauren, Picture source unknown