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England's Dolly and Heyes among new deals announced by Leicester

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Steve Bardens/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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Rookie England hooker Nic Dolly has agreed on a new deal at Leicester, the club he joined just last March from Coventry. Having initially honed his skills at youths level in New South Wales, the Australian arrived at Sale in 2017 and was quickly included in the England U18s. He then played age-grade U20s but his club action was transient, Dolly making loan appearances for Sale FC, Rotherham Titans and Jersey Reds before getting released by the Sharks and winding up at Coventry when Steve Borthwick put in an emergency SOS call eleven months ago. 

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That move was a game-changer for the career of the 22-year-old as not only has he gone on to make 16 appearances for Leicester, his emergence also caught the eye of Eddie Jones and Dolly became one of 23 players given England Test debuts during the 2021 calendar year when he appeared off the bench in the November win over South Africa.  

“You consider where he has come from, he was going back to play for Coventry, got a call-up from Leicester Tigers, played four or five games for them, finds himself in the England squad and finds himself coming up against the best pack in the world and making his debut in front of 82,000 people at Twickenham. What a story in terms of resilience, in terms of just keep doing your work and when the opportunity comes, take it,” enthused Jones at the time. 

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With Luke Cowan-Dickie now back fit after missing the entire Autumn Nations Series due to injury, Dolly didn’t make the England squad that is currently preparing for the upcoming Guinness Six Nations campaign which starts away to Scotland next Saturday.

However, that omission has allowed him the time to sign off on the paperwork that will keep him at Leicester for the next while. “For me, this is a club that wants to be successful and is a group that wants to work hard, and I want to be able to be a part of that,” said Dolly on the Leicester website.  

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“To be able to be in not only a position where this great competition for a place but a squad where everyone is fighting for a spot, that only brings out the best in a player. We have a great group of guys on the field but also off it, who are all working to keep building something here at Tigers. Steve and the coaching group have been really good for me, especially in the past six or so months and my development. It has really helped me develop as a player. 

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“I think, and I would say most players from other clubs would admit, that we have the best stadium and biggest support behind us at Leicester Tigers. Our fans are awesome, they are incredibly supportive and have been great with me since I arrived. I want to be able to continue to experience that and be a part of that here at the club.”

Borthwick added: “Nic has done incredibly well since joining Leicester Tigers. His growth and development as a player is a testament to the hard work that he has put in and his desire to improve. There is still such a potential for growth in Nic, which is very exciting.”

Leicester have also announced new deals with versatile back Guy Porter, the 25-year-old who has made 32 appearances since debuting in 2020 after joining from the Brumbies, tighthead Joe Heyes, the 22-year-old who has made 87 appearances since debuting in 2018 after graduating from the Tigers academy, lock Calum Green, Scotland midfielder Matt Scott, winger Harry Potter and back-rower Hanro Liebenberg. There is also a rumour that ex-England back Chris Ashton is training at the club following his release by Worcester.

Prop Heyes, who made a Summer Series Test debut last July, is currently with the England squad at Pennyhill Park. “This is my club and this is my home, to represent the passionate people of Leicestershire and our supporters is a huge honour,” he said.

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“It’s very personal for me because my grandad used to play just across the road at Filbert Street and being a part of the proud sporting history of Leicester is amazing. Steve has challenged me on and off the pitch and made me believe what I can achieve with hard work and dedication.”

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