Leicester confirm 10 senior player departures but no word on Mike Ford's rumoured exit
Leicester Tigers have confirmed the exit of ten players following the completion of their 2020/21 campaign but there is no update concerning the rumoured exit of assistant coach Mike Ford, the father of out-half George. The ex-England and Ireland assistant arrived at Leicester in March 2019 as a senior coach at a time when the club was battling against Premiership relegation.
Ford has since occupied the attack and defence briefs and despite the general improvement with Leicester securing a sixth-place Premiership finish this term following successive eleventh place finishes, it has now been claimed by The Rugby Paper that his contract has been cancelled with rugby league’s Kevin Sinfield, the current Leeds Rhinos boss, linked with a switch to the union code at Leicester.
Whatever the veracity of that claim, the playing squad will again undergo much change at a club that has had a revolving door in recent times as it attempts to re-establish itself as a powerhouse of the English game.
A statement on the latest raft of player departures read: “As already announced during the season, Tomas Lavanini (Clermont), Luan de Bruin (Edinburgh) and Johnny McPhillips (Carcassonne) will leave the club after agreeing to deals elsewhere for the 2021/22 season. As confirmed earlier this month, the club and Zack Henry agreed on an early release for the fly-half from his current contract to join the French club, Pau.
“Front-rowers Ryan Bower and Darryl Marfo and back-rowers Jordan Coghlan and Sam Lewis are among the forwards who will leave at the end of June. Among the backs, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla and Ben White will also depart. Development squad members Ollie Ashworth, Osman Dimen, Henri Lavin and Kit Smith will also leave Tigers this summer.
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“Six members of the senior squad departed Tigers during the 2020/21 season after agreeing to early releases with the club. Those players were Blake Enever, Facundo Gigena, Jake Kerr, Shalva Mamukashvili, Jordan Taufua and Luke Wallace. Tom Hardwick also left in March of this year. Leicester have also said farewell to long-serving matchday doctor Martin Newey, who has retired from his role within the medical team after 20 years on the touchline for the club.”
Club boss Steve Borthwick added: “I want to thank each individual for their contribution to Leicester. I’m grateful to all of those players, coaches and staff who have contributed to what we are building at this club and thank them for their efforts and support in the early stages of the journey we are on at Tigers. I wish them well in what comes next in their careers.”
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