Nephi Leatigaga has left Leicester with immediate effect
Nephi Leatigaga has exited Leicester with immediate effect to take up an injury cover contract at the NSW Waratahs for Angus Bell, who suffered a season-ending toe injury during the team’s recent Super Rugby Pacific clash with the Brumbies. The Samoan prop leaves the Gallagher Premiership as a title winner as he was a used replacement in last year’s final win over Saracens at Twickenham.
A statement read: “Leicester Tigers can confirm that Nephi Leatigaga has left the club to join Australian Super Rugby side the NSW Waratahs. The Samoan international’s departure comes after a mutual agreement between the player and club for an early release of his contract with Leicester.
“Leatigaga joined Leicester during the summer of 2019 from the French club Biarritz. He made 29 appearances during his debut campaign and, since his debut away to Rugby in the Premiership Rugby Cup, has totalled 77 games for the club. The 29-year-old came off the bench in the 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership final victory over Saracens.”
Interim Leicester head coach Richard Wigglesworth said: “Nephi has been a key part of the club’s forward pack for four seasons and played a big role in what has been a busy, change-full period for Leicester. I always enjoyed running out alongside him as a player and have equally enjoyed coaching him in recent seasons.
“He has been a regular feature in Leicester Tigers sides since joining the club, playing almost 20 games a season up front in the pack on both sides of the front row.
“When the opportunity for him and his family to be closer to home came up, we felt it was right to provide them that chance and grant the early release. On behalf of everybody at the club, I thank him for his contribution to Leicester and wish him and his family the very best in this next chapter together.”
In a separate statement, Waratahs head coach Darren Coleman explained: “We are thrilled to have Nephi join us at the Waratahs. He is a quality player with plenty of experience, and his size and strength will be a real asset to us. With Angus out injured, we needed to bring in someone who had the runs on the board to give us a stable scrum and maul, and Nephi fits the bill perfectly. He is a solid addition to our squad.”
Leatigaga, who is available for selection for the Waratahs’ upcoming game against the Blues this Saturday, added: “I’m grateful for this opportunity to play for the Waratahs and I’m looking forward to working with the team. I know there is a lot of hard work ahead, but I’m ready for the challenge and I can’t wait to get started.”
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