There will be no way back at Welford Road for England international Manu Tuilagi and four other contract rebels after Leicester Tigers issued a statement on Friday claiming the matter was now definitely over.
Tuilagi, along with Greg Bateman, Kyle Eastmond, Noel Reid and Telusa Veainu, all decided not to take a permanent pay cut when the club last month approach the entire Leicester squad to help alleviate the financial pressure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The quintet had until July 1 to agree to revised terms but they opted not to do so. There was speculation that Tuilagi, a player whose family have been synonymous with club for the last two decades, could somehow have a change of heart and a solution would be worked out. However, this U-turn will not be happening.
Leicester, though, did confirm that a sixth contract rebel, New Zealander Jordan Taufua, has some additional time before he decides what to do due to the quarantine restrictions he faced following his return to England.
A statement released by the club on Friday read: “Leicester Tigers can confirm that the employment of each of Greg Bateman, Kyle Eastmond, Noel Reid and Manu Tuilagi, as well as Telusa Veainu, who signed with French club Stade Francais earlier this week, has now ended and they will no longer be playing for Leicester Tigers.
Not the news some Leicester fans wanted to hear https://t.co/HBa9iPpuFS
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 8, 2020
“The five players were stood down last week after being unable to reach a necessary, amended agreement with the club on their pay, of which all other contracted members of the squad for the period from July 1, 2020, agreed to due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Leicester Tigers.
“Jordan Taufua, who was afforded an extended period of consultation after being quarantined following his return to Leicester from New Zealand, is still in conversations with the club.
“In line with club policy and out of respect to Jordan regarding this confidential matter, Tigers will not comment on these ongoing discussions.”
Confirmation that the Tuilagi issue is finally over was hinted at on Wednesday by England and Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs, who admitted he wasn’t expecting any change to the July 1 decision.
“You don’t make those decisions unless you really weigh it up and to suddenly go full circle in a week’s time seems a little crazy. I don’t see that happening. We had a deadline and I would be very surprised if that was the case.
“Do I feel let down by Manu? Absolutely not. He has given a huge career to Leicester and his family has been a dynasty. There comes a time in anyone’s career when you change it up.
“Manu has been an amazing servant to Leicester along with all of his brothers, and he now has an opportunity to go somewhere else. I don’t feel any disappointment and the club will look to strengthen in those positions.”
Farewell from the prop ?https://t.co/otU5zC3RoF
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 9, 2020
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