The abrupt exodus of players from Leicester Tigers last week would have felt like a surreal dream for many fans, as a torrent of departures were announced – the contract disputes and pay cuts in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic saw the likes of Manu Tuilagi, Telusa Veainu and Kyle Eastmond all leave Welford Road. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The Tigers tried to downplay the severity of the situation, but it is hard to replace such titans of the English Premiership club. This feverish dream would have only continued this week when it was revealed Veainu had joined Stade Francais, also ending any faint hopes that players would make a U-turn.

The Tonga international’s swift relocation should come as no surprise as there would not have been a shortage in demand for him. There was the possibility that the sour ending to his five-year tenure with the English giants would have tarnished his reputation amongst its supporters.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer
Wasps and New Zealand’s Lima Sopoaga guests on The Lockdown, the RugbyPass pandemic interview series

But the reality is that these are such unique circumstances that players can hardly be blamed for assessing their options. While it is an unfortunate ending for the 29-year-old full-back, his legacy is secure as one of the club’s best players in recent times.

Given the slump Leicester have endured by their high standards, Veainu has been a paragon of consistency and solidity in the No15 shirt for Leicester. Indeed, his hypnotic footwork and pace have got his side out of some dire straits as they have battled relegation in recent times. 

His exit has not altered the way he is viewed by fans, which is demonstrated by the tributes he has received on social media:

ADVERTISEMENT

 

Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.

Sign Up Now