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Leicester flanker Hanro Liebenberg is chasing a unique family rugby double

By Chris Jones
Hanro Liebenburg has been an unsung hero in the Tigers backrow (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

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Leicester flanker Hanro Liebenberg is chasing a unique family rugby double by adding the Gallagher Premiership title to brother Wiaan’s Heineken Champions Cup triumph with La Rochelle.

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Wiaan, 29, and his La Rochelle team mates became the best in Europe winning the Champions Cup for the first time as Arthur Retiere’s 79th-minute try saw them edge Leinster 24-21.

Now, attention is focussed on Hanro, the Leicester vice captain, who will have plenty of support in the crowd for Saturday’s play off semi-final with Northampton at Mattioli Woods Welford Road as his family are flying in from their home in the Western Cape in South Africa and hope to be at Twickenham to see the final a week later.

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Liebenberg on retirement
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Liebenberg on retirement

After watching his elder brother lift the Champions Cup, Hanro, 26, has his eyes on the top prize in English rugby and said: “I would have loved to have been at the final to see my brother but we had things going on and had to train for a big few weeks. I spoke to him before and after the game and I am so happy for him and what he has accomplished in his career.

“It would be nice (to also get a medal) but let’s first handle this week and then we can think about those things. My family are coming on Thursday and I haven’t seen them for a while and it is a very special occasion. Hopefully, we can create some great memories. My family came in my first season at Leicester but haven’t experienced Welford Road as it has been in these past few weeks.

“The season has been stressful because we keep ourselves accountable to a high standard and that has got us to where we are. It’s is going to be a big physical battle with Saints and we are going to have to be up for it.”

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Liebenberg, who signed a new Tigers contract in February, was the club’s Player of the Year last season and captained the Junior Springboks to a Bronze Medal at the 2015 World Rugby U20 Championship. He spent the 2018/19 season in the Top 14 with Stade Francais.

Liebenberg’s line out play has been crucial for the Tigers along with his intensely physical work in defence and the break down helped overcome Wasps 20-10 last weekend and he added: “The game against Wasps was a proper match between two good teams but there were loads of errors. We didn’t finish off our chances and we can learn a lot of lessons going into the semi-final. When I joined the club a semi-final was (a) crazy(thought). The way we approach every week is the big difference – constantly striving to get better. We are slowly but surely getting there, although we haven’t accomplished anything yet.”

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