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May 31, 2013

Mulipola the latest to re-sign with Tigers

Posted by Graham Jenkins on 05/31/2013

Samoa international Logovi'i Mulipola has become the latest player to re-sign with Premiership champions Leicester.

The 26-year-old prop joined the Tigers after the 2011 World Cup, and has helped the club reach two Aviva Premiership finals, including last Saturday's victory over Northampton.

Director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: "Logovi'i made a big impact when he first came here and he has continued to work on his game and improve in a very strong group of props. Having the likes of Marcos Ayerza, Dan Cole, Martin Castrogiovanni and Boris Stankovich around him has helped him enormously and now he is firmly established in our senior squad. With Jerome Schuster coming into the group for the new season too, there is a good pool of players working together and getting better."

May 29, 2013

Leicester Tigers confirm another five summer signings

Posted by Martin Williamson on 05/29/2013

Leicester have confirmed five new additions to the first-team squad for next season with the signings of Neil Briggs, Gonzalo Comacho, Jamie Gibson, Ryan Lamb and Owen Williams.

"It’s important that we have good strength and depth in our squad to keep us competitive through a long season and we feel the new signings can all make a big contribution here,” said the Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill. "Four of those players have extensive Premiership experience, which is important, while Williams is a young man with a lot of ability and potential which we believe can be developed within the Tigers squad."

Leicester have already confirmed the arrival of prop Jerome Schuster and scrum-half David Melé from Perpignan.

May 27, 2013

Tigers confirm Murphy coaching role

Posted by Graham Jenkins on 05/27/2013

Leicester Tigers have confirmed that Geordan Murphy will remain at Aviva Premiership champions next season as part of the coaching team.

Murphy, who retired after a 16-year career at Welford Road at the end of this season, will assist Paul Burke, who will take over as backs coach following Matt O'Connor's move to become head coach at Leinster.

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: "By bringing Paul and Geordan together in the coaching team we have a degree of continuity which I feel is very important in our environment and we look forward to seeing their continued development in their new roles."

May 22, 2013

Bath's Dan Hipkiss forced to retire

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 05/22/2013

Former England centre Dan Hipkiss has retired from the sport with immediate effect after failing to recover from a shoulder injury.

Bath centre Hipkiss, who won 13 caps for England, injured his shoulder in January and despite making strides in his recovery, he has been left with no option but to retire. At his previous club Leicester, Hipkiss was an integral part of their dominance during the noughties and he will leave the the game with plenty of memories.

"This is obviously a really sad time for me, but the decision has really been taken out of my hands which has made it a little bit easier," Hipkiss said. "It's not the way anyone wants to leave the game, but when the doctor tells you it's time you have to listen to them.

"Looking back, I've had a great career, and would like to thank Sam Vesty and Lewis Moody, who I've played with for pretty much the whole time I've been in rugby. I'd also like to thank Paddy Howard and Darryl Gibson, who have given me a huge amount of support."

May 20, 2013

Aviva Premiership final sold out

Posted by Graham Jenkins on 05/20/2013

This Saturday's Aviva Premiership title-decider between Leicester Tigers and Northampton has sold out faster than any previous final.

"The appeal of Aviva Premiership Rugby is at an all-time high and selling out the final so quickly this year is great news for professional club rugby in England," said Premiership Rugby's commercial director Dominic Hayes following confirmation that all 82,000 tickets had been sold.

This is the sixth consecutive year that the Premiership final has sold out with the game set to be broadcast exclusively live on ESPN.

May 17, 2013

Leicester bolster ranks with French prop

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 05/17/2013

Leicester have added to their front-row resources with the signing of Perpignan prop Jerome Schuster, according to the Leicester Mercury.

Schuster can play on either sides of the front-row and will cover the departure of Martin Castrogiovanni who is Toulon-bound. With two caps for France to his name, Schuster will bring a wealth of experience to Leicester's prop resources.

May 15, 2013

Aaron Mauger rules out Leicester return

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 05/15/2013

Former All Blacks and Leicester centre Aaron Mauger has distanced himself from reports linking him with the soon-to-be vacant head coach role at the Leicester Tigers.

Current coach Matt O'Connor will leave the club at the end of the season to take up a role with Leinster and Mauger, who played for the Tigers between 2007 and 2010, was linked with the post. But Mauger is adamant he wants to stay with the Crusaders, where he is attack and defence coach, for the time being.

"I had some informal chats with Richard Cockerill but there are a number of reasons that meant I couldn't pursue it any further," Mauger told the Leicester Mercury. "I have a great role with the Crusaders. However, I would definitely consider the opportunity, if it were to come up again in the future. I am still a passionate supporter of Tigers and follow their progress week to week on the website."

April 30, 2013

Slater named Player of the Month

Posted by Jeremy Inson on 04/30/2013

Leicester Tigers’ Ed Slater has been named the Aviva Premiership player of the month for March.

The second-row put in a number of impressive performances at the line-out and in the loose as Leicester pushed hard for a home semi-final draw.

“The team has been playing well as a group, which is massive for everyone,” Slater said. “Having a run of games in the side was massive for me. My confidence was good and the team has been playing well.”

April 19, 2013

London Irish sign Leicester Tigers trio

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 04/19/2013

London Irish have bolstered their resources ahead of next season with the signing of three players from Leicester Tigers.

Hooker Jimmy Stevens, prop Jonny Harris and winger Alex Lewington have all been dual registered with RFU Championship side Nottingham this term and will link up with the Exiles at the end of the campaign.

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith said: "Glenn Delaney has worked closely with all three of these players and I've been impressed with what they've already achieved at Leicester and Nottingham. I'm sure we can develop them further and expect all three will be pushing for a place in our matchday squad. If they put their heads down, I have no doubt they can go on to higher honours."

April 15, 2013

Falcons announce Brookes and Powell contracts

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 04/15/2013

Newcastle Falcons have announced centre Adam Powell and prop Kieran Brookes have both penned new two-year deals.

Powell linked up with the Falcons in March while Brookes has been playing for the club on a dual-registration deal with Leicester. The confirmation of Brookes' signing sees him return to the club he left in 2011 after agreeing to a switch to the Tigers.

The Falcons have their sights set on a return to the Aviva Premiership and coach Dean Richards is delighted with the news of the duo's renewed commitment. “I am thrilled that Adam and Kieran have signed for us, and I am very much looking forward to working with them," Richards said. “They are both quality acquisitions, and they can see what we are trying to do at the club in the long-term.”

March 5, 2013

Kieran Brookes swaps Tigers for Falcons

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 03/05/2013

Newcastle Falcons have bolstered their front-row resources with the loan signing of Leicester Tigers prop Kieran Brookes.

Brookes moved to Leicester ahead of the 2011-12 season from the Falcons but has found his first-team opportunities at Kingston Park. "I am really pleased to be back in Newcastle and I am looking forward to playing regular first team rugby again,” Brookes said. "From first impressions I can see that there has been a lot of positive change taking place at the club since I was last here. There is a new coaching set-up, new medical suite and new personnel at the top which really bodes well for the future of the club."

Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards added: "Kieran is a good acquisition for the club, and he brings strong go-forward to the pack as we prepare for the end of season play-offs."

March 2, 2013

Leicester season ticket sales hit 10,000 mark

Posted by Jeremy Inson on 03/02/2013

Leicester Tigers have announced that they have already sold 10,000 season tickets for next season.

The Tigers sold 14,000 for this season and their success in the Heineken Cup, where they are through to the quarter-finals and the Aviva Premiership, where they currently sit third, has ensured that fans are confident of further success at Welford Road.

“The season ticket figures show the amazing levels of commitment and loyalty this club enjoys from its supporters,” Tigers chief executive Simon Cohen said. “To have 10,000 supporters already committed to next season at this stage says a huge amount for their dedication and to the quality of the club and the team.”

March 1, 2013

Leicester close in on Briggs and Gibson

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 03/01/2013

Leicester Tigers have signed London Welsh hooker Neil Briggs and London Irish flanker Jamie Gibson ahead of next season, according to the Leicester Mercury.

It looks likely that Briggs will replace club stalwart George Chuter while Gibson will offer another option in their back-row. Briggs has shone for London Welsh this season and has played most of his rugby at Sale while Gibson is currently in the England Saxons mix. They will link up with fellow new recruits Ryan Lamb, David Mele and Sebastien de Chaves.

February 25, 2013

Exiles complete Pat Phibbs signing

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 02/25/2013

London Irish have signed Australian scrum-half Patrick Phibbs in a two-year deal.

Phibbs joined the Exiles from Leicester Tigers as cover for the injured Tomas O'Leary in December and the Aviva Premiership club have decided to extend his stay at the Madejski Stadium.

London Irish boss Brian Smith said of the scrum-half: “Patrick Phibbs is a class act, his vast experience in Super Rugby and the Aviva Premiership make him a great fit for our club. Since Pat joined us at Christmas we’ve won six from eight games and he’s been a major factor in our improved form in 2013.”

February 20, 2013

Cockerill confirms interest in Ryan Lamb

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 02/20/2013

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill has confirmed that Northampton Saints fly-half Ryan Lamb is on the club's radar ahead of next season.

"With George Ford leaving we need cover at 10. We need more goalkickers within the squad. [Lamb] is one of the guys that is available, along with several others. There is a little bit of a merry-go-round on the fly-half front across the Premiership," Cockerill told BBC Sport. "When we are ready to sign people we will make that announcement, but at this point there is nothing to tell. In the current market place you have to look at everybody. We are looking at guys to play as back-up to Toby Flood and if they are better they will play.

"Ryan is one of those, but there are lot so guys. There are plenty of others and there are a few other options outside the Premiership as well."

Castres bring in Wessel Jooste

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 02/20/2013

Castres have signed Leicester Tigers back-rower Wessel Jooste until the end of the season.

Jooste failed to make an Aviva Premiership appearance for the Tigers and with Castres' back-row resources depleted due to Pedrie Wannenburg and Yannick Caballero's injuries - along with Antonie Claassen's Test call-up - they have moved to sign the former Bourgoin forward.

Jooste said of the move: "I was in contact with Castres on Saturday and I had no hesitation in coming back to France, a country I like a lot."

February 13, 2013

George Chuter could leave Leicester

Posted by Jonny McLeod on 02/13/2013

Leicester Tigers head coach Richard Cockerill has hinted hooker George Chuter is likely to leave the club at the end of the season.

The 36-year-old, who was capped 24 times by England, is the time leading appearance holder in Premiership history with 259. He joined the club in 2000 but his contract is due to expire at the end of the season.

"George has a lot of experience and will offer a lot to somebody," Cockerill told BBC Radio Leicester. "Whether that is us in the short term, or the opportunity is there to go somewhere for longer and potentially coach and do all those other things - he has to weigh those options up himself. But the way guys leave this club is important to us and however that is managed, it needs to be done right.

He added: "We are looking at our options at hooker because I think that is the right thing to do. Chutes' may or may not stay and we'll have to wait and see, but we'll manage it properly. I know George very well and we are having those discussions all the time. At this point there are lot of decisions to be made."

February 3, 2013

Croft sets sights on Argentina tour

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 02/03/2013

Leicester Tigers' flanker Tom Croft has conceded that he is more likely to be on England's tour of Argentina come the summer than with the British & Irish Lions in Australia.

Croft was one of the standout performers on the Lions' 2009 tour of South Africa but after enduring a year where he has spent most of it on the sidelines through injury, Croft admits that his chances of touring with the Lions are slim.

"There's a Lions tour of Australia and an England tour to Argentina," Croft told the Rugby Paper. "My goal is probably to get on that England tour. After the injury I've had, if I could squeeze in a Six Nations match or two that would be a bonus. Then, if I can have a good run of form, I might get a call for Argentina."

February 2, 2013

Castro ready for Toulon switch

Posted by Jeremy Inson on 02/02/2013

Italy’s Martin Castrogiovanni has confirmed that he is close to becoming the latest player to join Toulon, but must wait for his club Leicester Tigers to reach an agreement with the French side.

The 91-time capped prop has a year remaining on his contract at Welford Road, but remains hopeful the two clubs can negotiate a deal.

"I have reached an agreement with Toulon but I still have a year on my contract at Leicester," the 31-year-old told ESPN Radio. "The two clubs are in the process of reaching a deal. In theory, all is sorted out. I should sign next week but I cannot say I am a Toulon player nor that I have left Leicester."

January 30, 2013

George Ford targets regular first-team rugby

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/30/2013

George Ford is hopeful that his decision to leave Leicester Tigers will lead to more regular rugby next season.

Ford is reportedly on the verge of joining Bath Rugby ahead of next season and he is hopeful that the move away from the Tigers, where he frequently found himself on the bench with Toby Flood starting, will pay dividends. "It is difficult when you are on the bench and you are coming on for 10 or 20 minutes each game. Playing a full 80 minutes is what I need to be doing really," Ford told Press Association Sport. "Like any young player, you need to be playing and the more you play the better you get.

"For any young player who is willing to learn and progress in their career they need to be playing as much as they can. It was one of the toughest decisions I have had to make and I didn't take it lightly. Young players need to be playing to learn and develop. It (my situation) is no different to any young player."

Tigers chairman predicts salary cap increase

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/30/2013

Leicester Tigers chairman Peter Tom claims that in the wake of the lucrative BT broadcast deal which comes into play next season, which includes rights to the Aviva Premiership and English club's European games from 2014, he expects the salary cap to be increased.

"I have never been in favour of the salary cap and I am still not," Tom told the Leicester Mercury. "I understand why it is there. Lots of people say it provides a service but it's up to the (Premier Rugby) board to decide what is carried.

"We are entering into a period where a new deal has just been done with the English players and BT have signed a good deal with English clubs, so I would be very surprised if we don't see the salary cap move up. And I would be surprised if it didn't happen next year."

January 26, 2013

Tom Croft given all-clear following injury scare

Posted by Graham Jenkins on 01/26/2013

England flanker Tom Croft has been cleared of serious injury after lasting just 11 minutes of Leicester's 34-8 Anglo-Welsh Cup victory over Wasps at Welford Road on Saturday.

The 27-year-old suffered a back injury on only his second start since returning from eight months on the sidelines after a shoulder operation but Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said it was not serious. "Crofty just got a knee in his back and it was a bit bruised and a bit tight in the soft bit between his hip and spine," Cockerill said. "It was just bad luck, one of those things. He needed to play but that's life. It's nothing serious, just a bang."

There was not such positive news for his team-mate Tom Price who was taken to hospital after being knocked unconscious on his debut. "He is at the hospital. He is not very good," said Cockerill. "It was his neck. He was unconscious and struggling. He has got movement in his hands and feet and, hopefully, he will be okay."

January 23, 2013

Cockerill confirms Ford move to Bath

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/23/2013

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill has revealed that fly-half George Ford will leave the Aviva Premiership club at the end of the season.

Ford's contract is up at the end of the season and he is currently second-choice No.10 at the club behind Toby Flood. Cockerill claims that Ford will join Bath, where his father Mike works, despite coach Gary Gold denying that a deal has been done.

"I have been told by him and his advisors that he is going to go and sign for Bath," Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury. "From a Leicester end, it's disappointing because you want your best young players to stay.

"If players choose to move on because they don't want to stay and fight for their spot, that's cool. But George has had plenty of game time and Toby Flood is a very good player. We pick on merit at Leicester."

Gold denies Bath deal for Ford

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/23/2013

Bath Rugby boss Gary Gold has denied that a deal has been done to bring Leicester Tigers fly-half George Ford to the club.

Reports on Tuesday suggested that Ford has informed the Tigers that he does not want to re-sign with the club with his contract up at the end of the season. And the Leicester Mercury claimed that Ford has decided that his future lies at Bath, but their boss Gold has denied that a deal is in place.

"Obviously George is a good player and I'm not going to bury my head in the sand and say that he isn't, but there's no deal in place," Gold told the Bath Chronicle. "The simple situation is that we are not allowed to be speaking to players like George because he is covered by a movement management protocol. He hasn't signed with the club and at this stage we are not allowed to have a conversation with him. We are an easy club to label him to but we've got Tom Heathcote and Stephen Donald under contract here."

January 22, 2013

European Player of the Year longlist revealed

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/22/2013

European Rugby Cup (ERC) has unveiled the longlist for European Player of the Year. The panel (consisting of five individuals from the media side of rugby) has picked 15 players based on their form in the first six rounds of Amlin Challenge Cup and Heineken Cup action.

Wasps' Joe Launchbury is the only representative from the Amlin Challenge Cup with the other 14 coming from the Heineken Cup.

The Longlist: Steffon Armitage (Toulon), Rory Best (Ulster), Julien Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Wesley Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), Mamuka Gorgodze (Montpellier), Charlie Hodgson (Saracens), James Johnston (Harlequins), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Morgan Parra (Clermont Auvergne), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster), Simon Zebo (Munster)

Tigers standing firm on Martin Castrogiovanni

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/22/2013

The Leicester Tigers are adamant that Martin Castrogiovanni’s proposed switch to Toulon is far from done.

Castrogiovanni still has a year left on his contract but the Top 14 big-spenders have reportedly lined him up to bolster their front-row options. But Tigers CEO Simon Cohen is standing firm.
"We have always said that there needs to be two elements in place for any transfer to go ahead," Cohen told the Leicester Mercury. "Firstly, we need a satisfactory transfer fee and, secondly, Martin Castrogiovanni needs to come to us and say that he wants to leave.

"We have had an initial and preliminary discussion with Toulon about a transfer fee and there is no agreement in place at this moment. We won't have a discussion with Martin Castrogiovanni about what he wants to do until an agreement is in place."

George Ford set to leave Tigers

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/22/2013

Leicester Tigers fly-half George Ford has informed his bosses that he will leave the Aviva Premiership side at the end of the season, according to reports in the Leicester Mercury.

Ford has long been linked with a switch to Bath, where his father and former England coach Mike Ford works, and he has now reportedly confirmed that he will not re-sign with the Tigers. The newspaper claims that the Leicester hierarchy offered him a lucrative two-year contract but with Toby Flood still regularly in possession of the No.10 jersey, Ford has decided to look elsewhere.

If Ford does journey to Bath then he will have to compete with young Scotland half-back Tom Heathcote for the fly-half shirt while ex-All Black Stephen Donald is also on their books.

January 18, 2013

Toulon eye Tigers prop Martin Castrogiovanni

Posted by Graham Jenkins on 01/18/2013

Leicester Tigers have reportedly opened talks with French side Toulon about the possible transfer of prop Martin Castrogiovanni.

The Italian international is contracted at Welford Road for at least another season but L'Equipe is reporting that officials from the Premiership club met with Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal this week to discuss a deal. The French giants already have a wealth of front row talent on their books in the form of props Carl Hayman, Andrew Sheridan and Gethin Jenkins.

January 14, 2013

Parling extends contract with Tigers

Posted by James Bass on 01/14/2013

Leicester second row Geoff Parling has ended speculation regarding his playing future by signing a new contract with the Premiership side 'beyond the end of this season'.

The 29-year-old England international had been linked with a possible move away from Welford Road but has now joined the likes of Tom and Ben Youngs, Graham Kitchener, Steve Mafi and Julian Salvi, in extending his stay at Welford Road although exact details were not disclosed.

Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “We told Geoff that he has always been part of our plans going forward and it is very good news that he has decided to stay with us. He has been an important guy for us over the last four seasons and is now an established international player too."