Leicester have confirmed the 19 players who will leave Welford Road at the end of this season. Tigers had already announced the retirements of Mat Tait and Matt Smith, in addition to Matt Toomua being released to join Melbourne Rebels.
That was in addition to Graham Kitchener, Mike Williams and Will Evans joining Worcester, Bath and Harlequins respectively next term. In addition to those six members of the senior squad, the club will also farewell Brendon O’Connor, Valentino Mapapalangi, Joe Ford, Fred Tuilagi and Charlie Thacker.
Meanwhile, Gareth Owen will join Newcastle Falcons after two seasons in the East Midlands and Mike Fitzgerald will make the move to Japan to join the Kamaishi Seawaves. Front-row trio Campese Ma’afu, David Feao and Ross McMillan also move on after one year in Leicester.
In addition, the club will farewell Tigers development squad hooker Harry Mahoney. Leonardo Sarto and Clayton Blommetjies, who joined the Tigers mid-season as injury cover in the squad, will also depart following the clash with Bath next Saturday, May 18.
“We have a mixed bag of experience leaving us this season, who have all given their all during their time in the Tigers shirt,” Leicester head coach Geordan Murphy told the club’s website.
Leicester Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy has confirmed the players who will leave the club at the conclusion of the 2018/19 season.
The Class of 2019 ?? https://t.co/e03duXHz9O
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) May 15, 2019
“Some of those leaving us have achieved a lot on the pitch, including Premiership wins for Mat Tait and Graham Kitchener, and then of course Matt Smith who leaves with seven trophies to his name and a legacy of commitment to the club second to none over his fourteen seasons in the top squad.
“Those three are easy to point out in terms of silverware won, but there is a lot more that people contribute to away from the fixtures each weekend while at the club and I commend each of the departing players for what they have given in terms of effort, commitment and knowledge while a member of our proud club.
“I wish all of them the best in their next chapters, whether it be as players or life after rugby, and am sure the fans will join me in thanking them for their contributions to our proud club.
“They have all joined a special group of people who can say they have played for this club and, as we say in Leicester, once a Tiger, always a Tiger.”
Leicester have been consigned to a bottom-three finish in the Premiership, and they cannot qualify for next season’s Heineken Champions Cup.
WATCH: Part five of The Academy, the RugbyPass documentary series on the Leicester Tigers
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