Leicester Tigers have offset their official farewell to Telusa Veainu by confirming that four other players – Hanro Liebenberg, Nephi Leatigaga, Facundo Gigena and Harry Wells – have all agreed extended contracts with the English Premiership club.
The Tongan became the first of that quintet to sort out his future, Stade Francais announcing on Tuesday that they have agreed to a three-year deal for the back who joined Leicester after appearing for his country at the 2015 World Cup.
He went on make just shy of 90 appearances for the club, scoring 32 tries and being voted RPA player of the year for one of his campaigns.
Speaking to the Tigers website, director of rugby Geordan Murphy said: “We thank Telusa for all that he has given to Leicester Tigers during his time with us.
Jury is in after the Tongan's hasty Tigers exit
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 7, 2020
“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has not been lost on anyone and while we hoped to see Telusa play out the remaining one-and-a-half seasons of his contract with us at Tigers, we appreciate the varying individual circumstances of all our players and wish him, his partner and child well in their next chapter in Paris.”
To make up for the less lucrative salary terms on offer at Welford Road, Leicester have been offering extended contracts to players.
George Worth, Sam Aspland-Robinson, Tommy Reffell, Jordan Olowofela and Ben White all put pen to paper on Monday with South African back row Liebenberg, Samoan prop Leatigaga, Argentine prop Gigena and English second row Wells following suit on Tuesday. The length of their extensions was unspecified by the club, though.
Murphy said: “Hanro hit the ground running this season and quickly established himself as an important part of our club, moving forward. He wants to be a Tigers player and believes in what we are building here at the club, which he has bought into after less than a season.
“Nephi has had an impressive start to his Tigers career and improved with each performance during the current campaign. He has an opportunity now to go on with it and continue to progress here in a Tigers shirt, under the guidance of Boris Stankovich and alongside some experienced, international front rowers.
“Facundo has grown as a player with every opportunity he has got since joining us two years ago. He arrived here as an unknown and, through his hard work and no-nonsense style, has become a favourite among supporters in the stands at Welford Road and his teammates.
“Every time Harry pulls on a Tigers shirt, he leaves nothing on the pitch and he is committed to seeing the club get back to where it belongs. He has played more than 70 games in the past three seasons… we want players at Tigers who are committed to the journey and the tough work we know is required.”
— Stuart Grantham (@stu72g) March 2, 2020
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