Comments made by Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick have thrown some doubt over Jordan Taufua’s exit from the club.

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Lyon revealed this week that the back row was on his way to France, claiming they had signed the former Crusaders forward, with immediate effect.

A statement on Wednesday from Lyon read: “We are happy to announce the recruitment of Jordan Taufua to compensate for the absences of Bastareaud and Gallan. He turns 29 this Friday and he arrives in good time for Pierre Mignoni and his staff to strengthen a pack not spared from injury this season.

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England and France’s Six Nations media front:

“Expected today [Wednesday] in Lyon, the new back row will still have to observe a period of quarantine lasting seven days before being able to join the Lyon workforce and discover his new teammates.

However, comments from former England forwards coach Borthwick have thrown the cat amongst the pigeons.

Borthwick told BBC Leicester, regarding Taufua’s exit, that: “It’s an ongoing situation. Until it is completely resolved, it’s not one for me to comment on.”

His comments could suggest that Leicester are looking for Lyon to buy him out of his current contract, seeing as Taufua left Welford Road mid-season.

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Clubs compensating each other for mid-season buyouts are becoming more and more common in rugby, a practice that apes the transfer protocol of Association Football. Montpellier bought Louis Picamoles out of his Northampton Saints contract in 2017 and also had to come to million-euro-plus arrangement with Racing 92 over the signing of Johan Goosen.

Taufua was one of a number of Tigers players who initially refused to sign a new reduced salary contract in 2020, a saga that ran on for weeks and may have soured the two parties’ relationship. As recently as 10 days ago a statement from Leicester referred to new Puma signing, Julian Montoya, as a Super Rugby veteran who had played “against his soon-to-be Leicester team-mate Jordan Taufua.”

RugbyPass understands that Tigers are very close to agreeing terms with Bulls forward Marco van Staden, a potential back row replacement for Taufua.

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