Full name Thomas Richard Croft
Born November 7, 1985, Basingstoke
Current age 28 years 34 days
Major teams British and Irish Lions, Leicester Tigers, England
Height 6 ft 5 in
Weight 231 lb
|British and Irish Lions||2009-2013||5||3||2||10||2||0||0||0||2||3||0||40.00|
|IRB Rugby World Cup||2011-2011||5||4||1||5||1||0||0||0||4||1||0||80.00|
|Test debut||France v England at Stade de France, Feb 23, 2008 match details|
|Last Test||Australia v British and Irish Lions at Melbourne, Jun 29, 2013 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
A blindside flanker with searing pace, Croft would not look out of place in the centre but is at home with the hard graft of the back-row or physicality of lock.
Croft played for five seasons at youth level with National Division One side Newbury before signing for Leicester's academy. His debut for the Tigers' first team came in 2005 against Gloucester, but it was during the following season that Croft really began to showcase his considerable talents.
He began the season with a bang at the Middlesex Sevens, scoring five tries in the first four games as the Tigers reached the final. He then went on to make 16 appearances for the first team during the 2006-07 season, winning a Premiership title and the Anglo-Welsh Cup, in which he scored a memorable long range try in the final against the Ospreys.
Croft's ascension into the England squad was complete when he was called upon to replace an injured James Haskell in the second half of the Six Nations victory over France in 2008. A year after his Test debut - and following another Premiership title with Leicester - Croft was selected for the British & Irish Lions' tour of South Africa following the suspension of veteran Ireland flanker Alan Quinlan. He made a memorable Lions debut, scoring two tries in the firstt Test in Durban, but ultimately had to share in the tourists' disappointment across the series.
In the aftermath of his Lions exploits, Croft suffered with a number of serious injuries. Knee problems and a shoulder injury interrupted his international career - despite the obvious high of a Test win in Australia in 2010 - and it wasn't until after England's disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign in 2011 that he regained his best form.
His winning try against France was a major highlight of Stuart Lancaster's first Six Nations in charge, but again Croft was unable to kick on due to injury - a neck issue ruling him out of that summer's Test series against South Africa.
Croft eventually returned to action for Leicester in the New Year. After a carefully managed recovery he was called up for England's last matches in the 2013 Six Nations. His form was good enough for England and Leicester to secure a British & Irish Lions squad place for the second time.