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Teammate and former England player backs Thacker to wear the rose

By Josh Raisey
Harry Thacker

After playing a key part in Bristol Bears’ pulsating 27-27 draw with London Irish on Sunday, Harry Thacker’s credentials for a possible call-up to the national team have only been boosted.

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The hooker’s form has mirrored his club’s this season, as they have both made terrific starts to their campaigns. He moved to Ashton Gate last season from Leicester Tigers probably in the hope of moving out of Tom Youngs’ shadow, and it is paying dividends.

Given his form, the 25-year-old must undeniably be on Eddie Jones’ radar ahead of the 2020 Six Nations. The Australian has already suggested that there may be an overhaul of his squad with the beginning of a new Rugby World Cup cycle, and Thacker may be a beneficiary.

Jamie George looks likely to retain the number two jersey for England, and with Luke Cowan-Dicke and Jack Singleton also vying for a place in the national squad, it will not be easy for the Bristol man, even with the recent retirement of Dylan Hartley.

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In light of his performance against London Irish, whereby he beat nine defenders, scored a try and got an assist, Thacker’s teammate and former England international Jordan Crane has suggested that the hooker is given his chance with England.

Capable of playing as a loose forward, Thacker showed how dangerous he is in the wider channels of the field against Irish, however, the crucial stat is that he had a 100 percent lineout success.

Regardless of how flamboyant a hooker may be in the loose, the priority and the most fundamental requirement is that they are solid in the set-piece. Without a dependable lineout, no team can expect to thrive and no hooker can expect to rise to the top of the game. This was the quality that made Hartley so dependable and trusted for England, and this is therefore the stat that gives the most promise for Thacker, although he will need to back it up consistently.

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With Pat Lam’s side now sitting in second place in the league, a few of his players will hope for calls to the England squad in the New Year, and Thacker is one of the main candidates.

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mitch 1 hours ago
The Wallabies team Joe Schmidt must pick to win back Bledisloe Cup

Rodda will be a walk up starter at lock. Frost if you analyse his dominance has little impact and he’s a long way from being physical enough, especially when you compare to Rodda and the work he does. He was quite poor at the World Cup in his lack of physicality. Between Rodda and Skelton we would have locks who can dominate the breakdown and in contact. Frost is maybe next but Schmidt might go for a more physical lock who does their core work better like Ryan or LSL. Swain is no chance unless there’s a load of injuries. Pollard hasn’t got the scrum ability yet to be considered. Nasser dominated him when they went toe to toe and really showed him up. Picking Skelton effects who can play 6 and 8. Ideally Valetini would play 6 as that’s his best position and Wilson at 8 but that’s not ideal for lineout success. Cale isn’t physical enough yet in contact and defence but is the best backrow lineout jumper followed by Wright, Hanigan and Swinton so unfortunately Valetini probably will start at 8 with Wright or Hanigan at 6. Wilson on the bench, he’s got too much quality not to be in the squad. Paisami is leading the way at 12 but Hamish Stewart is playing extremely well also and his ball carrying has improved significantly. Beale is also another option based on the weekend. Beale is class but he’s also the best communicator of any Australian backline player and that can’t be underestimated, he’ll be in the mix.

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