STATEMENT: Leicester Tigers announce departure with immediate effect - Ruck

STATEMENT: Leicester Tigers announce departure with immediate effect

The Leicester Tigers have announced that Nephi Leatigaga has departed from the club and will be joining the Australian Super Rugby team, the NSW Waratahs.

The Samoan international and the club have mutually agreed to an early release of his contract with the Leicester Tigers.

Leatigaga had joined the Leicester Tigers from Biarritz, a French club, in the summer of 2019. He had an impressive debut season, playing in 29 games, and has since played a total of 77 games for the club, starting with his debut away game against Bath Rugby in the Premiership Rugby Cup.

The 29-year-old had also played a role in the club's victory over Saracens in the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership Final, coming off the bench.

Speaking about Leatigaga, Leicester Tigers Interim 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 Tigers.

“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 Tigers and wish him and his family the very best in this next chapter together.”

Leicester Tigers confirm five signings for next season, including England star

#1. Josh Bassett from Harelquins

The 30-year-old will join Tigers from Harlequins, who he joined midway through the current campaign from Wasps.

Bassett played his junior rugby for Ampthill before moving to Bedford Blues ahead of the 2011/12 campaign. The outside-back was selected for England Under-20s in 2012.

In 2013, he joined Wasps and made more than a century of appearances for the club before joining Harlequins in 2022.

Bassett said:

“I want to continue developing, individually, and reach my potential. I see Leicester Tigers as the place to do that.

Mattioli Woods Welford Road is a special place. You know it is going to be loud, the atmosphere is going to be electric and so the opportunity to be on the right side of that was a hard one to turn down.

“There are some amazing players at the club, who have done so well in recent years and are going to continue pushing on. Knowing I will be a part of that gives me energy and makes me excited.”

Wigglesworth said:

“We are really looking forward to welcoming Josh to Leicester Tigers next season.”

“He is a prolific try-scorer, hard-working player who offers plenty in defence out wide. He adds great competition to our outside-backs.

“Josh is a highly respected player and experienced in the game, which will be of great value to our young group.”