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Leicester Tigers secure Joe Heyes in flurry of long-term deals

By Josh Raisey
Joe Heyes of Leicester Tigers looks on during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Leicester Tigers and Sale Sharks at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium on October 21, 2023 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

Tighthead prop Joe Heyes has become the latest Leicester Tigers player to sign a long-term deal, following teammate George Martin in committing to stay at Welford Road.

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Just hours after announcing Martin’s new deal at the club, Leicester followed it up by confirming that the 24-year-old prop has also signed a “long-term” deal.

The seven-cap England international already has 132 Leicester appearances to his name, as well as a Gallagher Premiership title. Heyes started on the bench in the victory over Saracens at Twickenham in 2022, playing the final 30 minutes of the match.

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“It was an easy decision for me to re-sign with Leicester Tigers,” Heyes said after signing the deal.

“Coming through the academy, the club holds a genuinely special place in my heart and there’s nowhere else I would want to play rugby at this stage of my career than in front of our fans at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

“I’m really enjoying the program Dan and the coaches have put in place and it’s been great for us to get some results over the last couple of weeks and build some momentum heading into the new year.”

Heyes’ head coach Dan McKellar said: “You can’t win games at this level without quality tighthead props and it’s fantastic for the club to have Joe locked in long term.”

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“With the athleticism and power that Joe possesses, he has the potential to be a quality International Tight Head Prop.

“We are fortunate to have depth and quality in such an important position, with Will Hurd, Dan Cole and Heyesy. All three will have important roles to play this season and moving forward.”

Heyes started in Leicester’s impressive 27-24 win over Stade Francais in round two of the Investec Champions Cup in Paris on Sunday, as the Tigers have made an unbeaten start to the competition they have won twice. The prop and his teammates will turn their attention back to the Premiership this weekend with a daunting visit to the Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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