Leicester head coach Richard Cockerill has backed number eight Jordan Crane to play for England this summer.
Crane hit the headlines yesterday by landing the winning shoot-out kick to book the Tigers’ place in the Heineken Cup final against Leinster.
The 22-year-old secured a 7-6 sudden death triumph over Cardiff after the two sides were level on points and tries at the end of extra time at the Millennium Stadium.
And former England hooker Cockerill, who felt his side deserved their place in the final, believes Crane’s performances this season are deserving of full international recognition in the two Tests against Argentina.
Cockerill said: “I thought we played pretty well, and for 72 minutes we were probably the better side, but credit to Cardiff for coming back like they did.
“It is a cruel way to lose, and not a great way to win. Penalties might be a great spectacle but it was a pretty hollow way to end the game.
“To reach the final of what is probably the biggest tournament in world rugby is a great achievement.
“Only a couple of days ago everyone was talking about Munster versus Cardiff in the final, but now it is Leinster versus Leicester.”
Of Crane, who is an England Saxons regular, Cockerill added: “He is a very confident young man.
“He came to us from Leeds, he has worked really hard and he is now one of our core guys.
“He is keeping some big people out of this team, and he should be looked at by England in the summer.”
While Leicester celebrated, the Blues were predictably inconsolable.
Blues head coach David Young said: “The game finishing like that was a new experience for most rugby watchers. But we knew the rules, and although it is not a great way to go out, it is part and parcel of professional sport.
“I am not going to apportion blame. I admire the guys who stepped-up and took the kicks, but unfortunately, someone was always going to miss, either for us or Leicester.
“You win together and you lose together and there is no finger-pointing, but I really feel for someone like Martyn Williams who has put in so much work to take this region forward.
“For 60 minutes Leicester were the better team - we couldn't produce any quick ball - but at 26-26 the momentum was with us before it went to dreaded kicks at the end.”