Leicester boss Geordan Murphy has shot down rumours that Maro Itoje will be playing for the Tigers in the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership season. Steve Borthwick, the forwards coach for the 25-year-old player’s entire England career and the 2017 Lions tour, is soon taking over as head coach at Welford Road, with Murphy taking on the director of rugby title.

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This Borthwick connection contributed to Itoje being linked to a loan deal away from Saracens, Jim Hamilton on The Rugby Pod commenting: “The more and more I think about it, I can’t see how someone like Maro Itoje is going to play in the Championship. 

“I saw something about Maro to Leicester. Genuinely, I’m not throwing a dead line amongst the pigeons here. I genuinely saw it, so I’m going to do a bit more digging on that.

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“I know they [Saracens] are going to put on some exhibition games. Imagine if he went to Leicester. I’m not throwing it out there to cause a stir. I have seen it somewhere and I will dig because I have got time to dig. I saw it on social media somewhere.”

Murphy, though, insisted the recruitment of Itoje wasn’t on the cards, revealing the club hope to instead have confirmation soon of a deal for a different player. Speaking on the latest edition of LLTV Weekly, he said: “That (Itoje rumour) is not true. Like everything this season, we have been attached to quite a few rumours. Maro Itoje is a fantastic player but is not in our plans at present.

“We actually are in the process of finalising someone in that position and we will release that when we are ready, hopefully early next week.” 

One of Warren Gatland’s potential 2021 Lions captains, England lock Itoje has been tipped for quite some time for a temporary move away from Allianz Park.

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An approach from Racing 92 for him to make camp in the Top 14 for 2020/21 was quashed due to objections from rival Premiership clubs who reportedly didn’t take kindly to the prospect of Eddie Jones bending the Test team selection rules to accommodate a player who would have been based outside England.

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