The messy spat that unfolded this past week between Leicester and back row Jordan Taufua has finally been settled after Tigers reached an agreement to release the New Zealander early from his contract so that he can join Lyon in the Top 14.
It was last Wednesday when Lyon announced the arrival of the former Crusaders forward, Taufua joining up initially a medical joker until the end of this season before a two-year contract would then kick into gear taking him through to 2023.
However, with Tuafua in France going through his quarantine protocols, Borthwick claimed following last Friday night’s loss to Sale that the deal taking their player to Lyon hadn’t been signed off by the club, generating speculation that something untoward was going on.
Whatever issues that were causing the angst have since been ironed out, though, with Borthwick now believing Leicester have the strength in depth to cope with the sudden loss of Taufua. Borthwick told the Leicester club website: “Jordan is a talented, experienced player and we are grateful to him for what he has given to Leicester Tigers during almost 18 months at the club.
“Supporters and people outside of the environment see a very small part of what goes on each week and Jordan has brought energy, enthusiasm and experience to our club at a crucial time while we re-shape our squad, which we will be better off for having had at Tigers. We all wish Jordan well in his next chapter as a player.
'It's an ongoing situation'
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 30, 2021
“The past year has been a well-documented, unique time in the game in many ways and, like almost every club, we have faced unprecedented challenges in managing our squad. An opportunity came up for Jordan to take up a new challenge in his career and, after positive dialogue with him, we came to an agreement that we feel works for both parties. We would not have made this decision had we not believed we had the depth in our group to continue to see competition for places in the back row, which we have seen a strong improvement in recently at the club.”
Taufua added: “It isn’t how I wanted to finish up my time at Tigers, especially without a chance to say goodbye to the fans at Welford Road, but I am very grateful for all that I have experienced in my time in Leicester. It has been a challenging time but I have learned a lot.
“I will always cherish my time and the experiences I had as a Leicester Tigers player and the friendships I made at the club. I appreciate the professional way this has been handled and am looking forward to what is ahead for me. I wish Leicester all the best going forward and will cheer them on from afar.”
"My fear is that if it goes too far from what is a touring side with 30,000 fans to games at home with no fans, will it keep its special place in rugby’s hearts?"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 2, 2021
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