Age Grade, Club Rugby

Anthony Allen’s role with Leicester Tigers backs is crucial to their success

Jacob Umaga in superb form for the TigersBrett Deacon believes Leicester Tigers have “a very special group of backs” coming through their ranks after watching his side beat Wasps 53-19 at the Premiership Rugby Under 18 Academy Finals day.

The Tigers put seven tries past Wasps at Allianz Park on Monday afternoon in the third-versus-fourth play-off match.

And Academy head coach Deacon believes the addition of Anthony Allen to their staff has been key following the former England centre’s retirement in the summer due to injury at the age of just 28.

Deacon said: “I think that we have a very special group of backs; some smart, intelligent young backs. Their maturity is very good, but I think a lot of the credit has to go to Anthony Allen.

“He is fresh out of playing, fresh to coaching and he has taken hold of this team in terms of our attacking shape and our attacking play and given us desire and confidence to go and play against teams.

“He has worked with the young lads to go and express themselves and challenge themselves and challenge other teams and I think that is paying off.”

Young centre Jacob Umaga (pictured) – the son of former Samoa international Mike and nephew to ex-New Zealand captain Tana – was one of those to impress at Saracens’ home ground, scoring 20 points including two tries.

Deacon said: “At the moment he is still a young lad, so you don’t want to pigeon-hole him in terms of where he is going to finish up – long term he will probably be a 12 – but for his development it is really good for him to play 10 so he can understand that role.”

Wasps had taken the lead through Ollie Brown’s early try and by half-time the Tigers had edged in front following a try by Sam Yawayawa and the boot of Tom Hardwick.

But Leicester turned on the style in the second half as Sam Grahamslaw, Levi Davis, Matt Riddington, James Martin and Umaga all crossed the whitewash for Deacon’s troops, with the latter adding ten points from the tee.

“Wasps started well, they took it to us and we probably sat off a little bit too much,” Deacon added.

“We’ve been speaking all season about trying to get a positive performance for 70 minutes and I thought we did that today; after the first five minutes we came into the game and controlled it from there.

“We kept adding the pressure and forced mistakes and there were some great performances in there.”

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