'I feel sorry for Maro Itoje. He's been spotted in Wigston last week and Kibworth this week'
Geordan Murphy has provided an update on the state of play regarding recruitment at Leicester, explaining why there were no player signing announcements this past week and also making a tongue-in-cheek remark about the Tigers’ false link with Maro Itoje.
It had been rumoured earlier this month that the England and Saracens lock was on the Leicester radar due to his connection with incoming head coach Steve Borthwick, but Murphy dismissed the Itoje speculation out of hand a fortnight ago.
He gave the Itoje rumour another mention in his latest weekly Leicester Tigers TV update, adding that the deals for the players they actually have signed have been completed and are just waiting to be publicly announced.
“Again we have nothing to announce this week,” said Murphy on LLTV when quizzed about recruitment. “I feel sorry for Maro Itoje. He’s been spotted in Wigston last week and Kibworth this week.
“There is always going to be rumours linking us to different players… we have been tied to a lot of names and a lot of people over the course and some fantastic players but we’re excited for the guys that we have and the fits that we have for our club.
“All the players that we have signed are signed. We haven’t announced those for a few different reasons but when we are ready we will announce them.
“Our contacts all finish on June 30 and the contracts for incoming players and academy graduates will start on July 1,” continued Murphy, who will become director of rugby in order to accommodate Borthwick taking over the head coach position the Irishman has occupied since succeeding Matt O’Connor during the 2018/19 season.
“The way it has worked out we should be back in the next few weeks to stage one but it’s highly unlikely that we will get back before July 1. As such, the guys who are leaving will leave and move to their new clubs and we will promote and have the guys who are incoming available.
“There are other problems in and around that, visa issues getting into the country and quarantine issues, but we have got a strong group of young men coming up from the academy and we have to give them the backing that they will step up and train with the first team and those guys are good enough to take their spots if needed.”
There is no still definite return date for the suspended 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season to resume, but Murphy insisted Tigers will be ready for whenever that return happens.
“We’re working towards finishing this season and when that starts we are unsure of, but we will get the guys back in and start stage one and get a base level of fitness under our belts. Stage two will be a return to rugby training as we know it although that may be tweaked.
“We have discussed numerous different things that may need to happen. We’ll have to be smart the way we do that but the most important thing is we have the guys ready to actually play rugby and play rugby the way Leicester Tigers should play rugby.
“We have to do an element of a large amount of physical preparation in order for that. We don’t have the start date and that is a frustration but we know we will be back out playing rugby. We’ll just prepare with that in mind.”
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