Leicester Tigers have kicked off the New Year with the announcement of new contracts for George Ford, Ellis Genge, George Worth and Sam Aspland-Robinson.
Ford, who has scored 810 points in 88 appearances for the club, made his debut for Tigers as a 16-year-old before winning a Premiership with Leicester in 2013.
Following a four year stint at Bath Rugby, Ford returned to Leicester ahead of the 2017/18 season and has since gone on to establish himself as one of the world’s premier players.
Speaking about his new contract, Ford said: “I want to be successful, part of a team that is winning trophies … and in an environment that is doing that.”
“I love this club … it’s not anywhere near where people want it to be.
“If I didn’t believe we could make improvements, it might have been a different story, but I genuinely believe that.
“I believe in sticking it out through tough times and coming out at the other end.”
Ford’s club and international team-mate Genge, who initially joined Tigers during the 2015/16 season on loan from Bristol before making the move permanent the following season, recently made his 50th starting appearance for the club.
When asked about his decision to remain in Leicester, despite offers to return home to Bristol and outside of the United Kingdom, Genge said: “Leicester is the club for me going forward and I am genuinely over the moon to be re-signing.”
“The only way is up … it will be positive, I wouldn’t have signed if I didn’t believe that.”
Worth, who made his 50th appearance for Tigers in the club’s recent Premiership appearance at Twickenham, joined the club as a 16-year-old as part of the Academy programme.
A versatile, utility-back, Worth has featured in almost every back-line position for Tigers since making his debut in the 2015/16 season and says the “stability” implemented at the club in recent months was a major factor in his decision to remain in Leicester.
“We are not where we want to be as a club, and to leave now, would be a failure on my part,” said Worth.
“A lot has gone on at the club over the past few years and now, with the stability that has taken place in coaches and the playing group, it seems to me that with that stability, I have a responsibility to be a part of trying to put things right.”
Former England Under-20s representative, Aspland-Robinson, who is currently side-lined with a leg injury, says the “vote of confidence” from the club means a lot to the 22-year-old.
“It’s really nice to get that vote of confidence,” said Aspland-Robinson.
“When I got injured, I went straight to Geordan and asked if he wanted to keep me, which he said he did.
“To get that certainty from the coach is great, it was a nice Christmas present for me and means a lot.”
Speaking about the recommitment of the quartet, Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy added: Retention and recruitment is a strange, strange thing … you’re always negotiating and chipping away at it.”
“We are in ongoing negotiations with current players, always, and continuing to work towards building and strengthening our squad for the future.”
Murphy also added that, with the New Year beginning, Tigers would begin looking “outside of the environment” for additions to the club.
“Now, with the New Year beginning, we’ll begin looking outside of the environment as well to guys who we can bring in to the environment and add to our group and what we’re trying to build in Leicester,” said Murphy.
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