Leicester Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy has confirmed the players who will leave the club when their contracts end at the conclusion of the 2019/20 season.
“In their own way, over their own different periods of time, they have all added to the history of Leicester"Geordan Murphy
Front-rowers Tatafu Polota-Nau, Gaston Cortes and Owen Hills and fellow forwards Will Spencer and Sione Kalamafoni will depart, as well as Guy Thompson as announced in April.
Long-serving scrum-half Sam Harrison departed the club in January after more than a decade in the senior squad and is joined by Adam Thompstone, EW Viljoen and Joe Thomas as departing backs.
As confirmed in April, England international Jonny May will return to Gloucester after three seasons in Leicester and Jonah Holmes has been released from the final year of his contract to pursue an opportunity in Wales, in a bid to further his international career.
“We thank each of our departing senior players for all they have contributed to the club, on and off the pitch,” said Murphy.
“In their own way, over their own different periods of time, they have all added to the history of Leicester.
“They enter an exclusive group of ‘Droglites’ and will forever be able to say they represented this proud club.”
“A handful of our departing development players played their part in the recent success of the club’s Under-18 side and, while their time with us as senior players has come to an end, we appreciate their efforts in the junior ranks and wish them well in the next step on their journey"Geordan Murphy
Development Squad members Kyran Bungaroo, Sam Eveleigh, Leo Gilliland, Cameron Jordan and Keston Lines will also leave Tigers.
Sam Costelow will return home to Wales after it was confirmed in March that the fly-half will join Scarlets next season.
Murphy added: “A handful of our departing development players played their part in the recent success of the club’s Under-18 side and, while their time with us as senior players has come to an end, we appreciate their efforts in the junior ranks and wish them well in the next step on their journey.”
Joe Batley and Rory Hughes, who joined Tigers mid-season on loan agreements will also depart, while Andy Forsyth and Ifereimi Boladau returned to their respective Championship clubs earlier this season.
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In a https://t.co/RClnWoIqiC exclusive, Fiji international @Nemani_Nadolo discusses his decision to make the move from France to the East Midlands ahead of the 2020/21 season.
See it here ➡️ https://t.co/JCqevjjEu7 pic.twitter.com/oMo4I0dDXK
Away from the playing squad, Tigers will also farewell Phil Blake after the Australian’s second stint in the East Midlands in the role of defence coach.
Murphy thanked Blake, who he brought back to the club for a second spell in January of last year.
“Phil is a passionate, driven coach who arrived into our environment midway through last season and hit the ground running, leading our defence,” Murphy said.
“The club is grateful to him for his efforts and we all wish him the best in the next chapter of his coaching career.”
“We have every bit of confidence in what we are building and faith in the group that will represent Tigers from next season and beyond"Geordan Murphy
Murphy also addressed the incoming group of players, who will begin their journey with the club this summer, as well as those youngsters making the step up from academy into senior rugby.
“We have an exciting group of players from all over the rugby world joining Tigers ahead of the next campaign who we believe to be important additions to our group,” said the Director of Rugby in-waiting.
“There is no overnight fix for what has been another disappointing campaign, we are not hiding from that fact.
“Those players we have signed and our existing squad members who have renewed their contracts and committed to this journey, as well as our Under-18s making the step up ahead of next season, are all part of our long-term vision for Leicester Tigers.
“Getting the balance right in the modern game is no easy feat but I am pleased with the squad we have assembled and am looking forward to working hard together with our new-look coaching staff to get the best out of the group.
“We have every bit of confidence in what we are building and faith in the group that will represent Tigers from next season and beyond.
“This is another step on the journey and it’s not going to be easy … it is going to be built on hard work, putting ourselves under necessary pressure and seeing a squad-wide commitment, despite what anybody outside of our club says or thinks, to deliver the results that are expected of a Leicester Tigers team.”