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Lam compares Thacker to All-Blacks

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'He would fit very well in Super Rugby' - Lam compares Harry Thacker to All Blacks pair

Bristol boss Pat Lam hailed former Leicester hooker Harry Thacker after the Bears claimed a historic win at Welford Road on Saturday.

Thacker crossed for the decisive late try to give Bristol a first win at Leicester in 17 years that keeps their top-six dreams alive.

The former England Under-20 international came through the Tigers’ academy and also scored two tries in the reverse fixture in December, and is enjoying a breakout campaign for his new club.

That means the Bears have completed a league double over the Tigers for the first time ever and left the former powerhouses still not guaranteed of their top-flight status.

And Lam, whose side downed Saracens last time out as well in the league, is in no doubt of Thacker’s class.

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“He has some qualities that a lot of players don’t and he would fit very well in Super Rugby as well,” Lam said.

“You look at the Dane Coles, the Codie Taylors – he’s in that sort of bracket.

“It’s not about proving a point, it’s about doing what’s best for the team, and he’s fitted into this group.

“I honestly believe he’s a special hooker in this country and there’s not many like him.

“Never before have Bristol won back-to-back (games) in a season against Leicester and that’s massive. I’ve been here many times and not had many victories.

“The main disappointing thing is that our target was five points and we probably blew three or four tries.

“Now we’re at home to Sale, which is a big one.”

The Tigers were left to reflect on what might have been, George Ford’s boot and Jordan Olowofela’s score had put them on the verge of back-to-back league wins for the first time since October.

But in the end the Bears were too good, Dan Thomas and Callum Sheedy both crossed before Thacker’s decisive late effort.

That means the Tigers are still nervously looking over their shoulder, despite bottom side Newcastle’s defeat on Friday night.

“Now we’re squarely in the bottom three and probably back in to talking about avoiding relegation,” said Tigers boss Geordan Murphy.

“It’s frustrating because I don’t think we’re a bottom-three side but maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m just oblivious to it.

“At times I thought we made line breaks and we looked good and the try was well-executed and well-taken.

“The boys looked happy, relaxed and good on the ball, with three or four tip passes, which is exactly where we needed to be.

“Having said that, in the second half we didn’t do a lot and we just looked a little nervous at times.

“Bristol scored three tries to one and generally you’d say that it was a deserved victory, but I felt sorry for the guys.”

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'He would fit very well in Super Rugby' - Lam compares Harry Thacker to All Blacks pair