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Churchill Cup
Lancaster praises captain Crane
ESPNscrum Staff
June 14, 2011
Crane took a battering against Tonga but performed well as captain © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Jordan Crane | Luke Narraway
Tournaments/Tours: Churchill Cup
Teams: England

England Saxons' head coach Stuart Lancaster has paid tribute to Jordan Crane following his captaincy against Tonga on Sunday.

The Leicester backrow stepped into the captaincy breach left by Gloucester's No.8 Luke Narraway and acquitted himself well against a physical Tongan side. Lancaster, talking to the Leicester Mercury, believes the experience of captaining his country and club side will put Crane in good stead for the future. "Jordan's control at the base of the scrum was excellent," said Lancaster."His empathy in managing the game as captain was very good and I think he will go on to be a good leader."

Crane and Lancaster know each other well, as Lancaster handed Crane his professional debut at Leeds in 2004 when Crane was just 18. Despite an exhausting season with Leicester Tigers, Crane opted to play in the Churchill Cup largely due to Lancaster's presence. "He took me to Leeds when I was straight out of school," said Crane. "The reason I decided to do the Saxons after a long season of injuries was because Stuart was coach. I have a lot of respect for him and I want to do well for him. It's nice to get some plaudits when you are captain and doing well. But it is just so easy to lead these guys because they are all so good at what they do. The higher the level you are, the easier it is to be a captain."

The Saxons now face Canada on Saturday to decide who will lift the Churchill Cup crown and after a bruising encounter against the Tongan's, Crane is willing his body on for one more game before a well earned rest. "The body is hanging on," said Crane. "I am still carrying a few niggles and the fracture in my fibia is still only five or six weeks old. I have played four games in four weeks since doing that, so my body is not in great shape. But I think I have one more game in me before I have four weeks off. That is going to be a nice long rest."

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