- London Wasps back and Leicester Tigers hooker both nominated
- Moody backs Thacker to make rapid progress at Leicester
Photo: RFU Archive
England hooker Tom Youngs may rule the roost at Welford Road, but Leicester Tigers legend Lewis Moody believes 2014 LV= Breakthrough Player Award nominee Harry Thacker will be a threat soon enough.
Thacker particularly impressed in round one of this year’s LV= Cup against Welsh outfit Ospreys, when he completed 21 carries and a perfect 11 lineout throws from 11 attempts.
Thacker comes from a strong pedigree – dad Troy also pulled on the number two shirt at Leicester Tigers – and at just 19 years old he is already impressing those in charge.
Moody’s England and Leicester teammate George Chuter dominated that shirt for a decade and Youngs has emerged as his natural successor.
But while Youngs continues to battle for his England berth with Northampton Saints’ Dylan Hartley, Thacker will continue to get opportunities to improve and impress.
“I know how well he’s thought of up at Leicester and to get that opportunity at 19 as a hooker shows just how highly he is rated,” said Moody.
“With the absence of George Chuter now that hooking position is one that’s going to be competitive. You’ve got Tom Youngs and Rob Hawkins who may be leaving next year, so they’ll be looking to groom this young man as a future prospect.
“At 19 he’s very much learning his trade. The guys there will be very much focussing on the basics with him, scrummaging and the line out.
“He’ll be getting a few opportunities here and there to prove himself but he’ll be developing massively over the next few years.”
Thacker is one of ten 2014 LV= Breakthrough Player Award nominees with the winner to be announced prior to the LV= Cup Final at Sandy Park on March 16 and LV= will donate £1,000 to a grassroots rugby initiative of the winner's choice.
Joining Thacker as the round one finalist is Wasps back Jonah Holmes, picked out in round one for making 11 carries and gaining 151 metres against Saracens during the opening weekend of the competition.
“There’s a lot of guys with this youthful enthusiasm, people like Jonah, bring to these teams now is very important and there is a guy who is as he should be,” Moody added.
“When he’s been given the opportunity he’s taken it. You only get one chance to impress your side as a young man, that can be everything, and Jonah certainly looks like he’s done that.
“His stats show you the sort of footwork and the speed he’s able to bring to the fore.”
The LV=Cup, watch the next generation break through. For more information on the LV= Breakthrough Player Award and voting, visit www.LV.com/rugby