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Leicester Tigers sign third front row in a week

Leicester Tigers sign third front row in a week
Leicester Tigers head coach Matt O’Conner

Leicester Tigers have been busy bolstering their front row, with a third player signing on the dotted line this week alone.

Hooker Ross McMillan is the latest in the door at Welford Road.

The 31-year-old has plenty of Premiership experience, former clubs include Gloucester and Northampton Saints.

There is familiarity with the coaching staff too, McMillan worked under forwards coach Mark Bakewell during his time at Bristol.

“Ross is a very experienced player and a good operator. Mark Bakewell knows him well from their days at Bristol and we believe he is a good man to bring into the camp.” head coach Matt O’Connor said.

McMillan will have a fight on his hands to claim the number two shirt, with captain Tom Youngs and veteran Wallabies international Tatafu Polota-Nau among those he’ll have to get past, with Jimmy Stevens, Jake Kerr and Harry Mahoney on the books too.

But with Polota-Nau with the Australian squad for the Rugby Championship, McMillan will add some depth to the squad.

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Earlier this week Leicester signed two props – Fijian international Campese Ma'afu and Tongan international David Feao.

The Tigers were forced into the market after several departures including Logovi'i Mulipola to Newcaslte Falcons, while England international Ellis Genge is a long-term injury absentee with a knee problem.

Ma’afu, who has 52 caps, spent the last two seasons with the Tigers East Midlands rivals Northampton Saints and has also played for Cardiff Blues. He had been due to play for Ealing Trailfinders next season, but the 118kg prop is going to Welford Road instead and joins as an injury dispensation for Genge.

“We’re obviously disappointed to have Ellis sidelined for the start of the new season after suffering a knee injury on the England tour in the summer and we look forward to seeing him back to full fitness in due course, but Campese is a very experienced prop with good knowledge of Premiership and European rugby.” head coach Matt O’Connor said.

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128kg Tongan Feao, who played all three of their summer Tests against Georgia, Fiji and Samoa, has European experience with spells at La Rochelle and most recently with Narbonne.

“David comes in with some good experience in Europe and we think he can continue to make good progress here. He is a big, powerful man and we look forward to getting him to work in the build-up to the new season.” O’Connor said.

The Brisbane-born prop also played for Souths, Brisbane City and NSW Country Eagles in Australia and picked up an Australian Schoolboys cap, but represented Tonga’s Under 20’s at the Junior World Championships in 2010.

Along with Mulipola’s departure from Leicester in the summer, Michele Rizzo left for Petrarca, while Ben Betts signed for Ealing Trailfinders. Kyle Traynor and Chris Baumann also departed at the end of their contracts.

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Leicester Tigers sign third front row in a week | Rugby Pass