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Rugby News

Contract deals are big positive says O'Connor

Telusa Veainu was among the senior players to agree new contract terms this week
Telusa Veainu was among the senior players to agree new contract terms this week

Matt O’Connor says Leicester Tigers are definitely “heading in the right direction” after announcing a series of contract renewals and the signing of an international forward in the last few days.

The club announced on Moneay that new contracts had been agreed with internationals Dan Cole, Matt Toomua and Telusa Veainu, plus forwards Mike Williams and Greg Bateman.

Last Thursday, Tigers also revealed the signing of Australia international hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, a veteran of nearly 80 Tests and more than 140 appearances in Super Rugby.

Head coach O’Connor said: “We’ve got a good group of players in the squad who are all working very hard to improve and to get the club into a position to challenge for major honours, which is exactly where we want to be.

“Being able to announce the re-signing of some world-class talent is massive for us and the signing of an experienced international player is important too in such a competitive arena in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe. It shows we’re heading in the right direction.

“All of the players are buying into what we are trying to do here and it’s an attractive place for players to be involved in because we have such quality in the squad.”

Bateman said he was delighted to agree new terms, adding: “We have a really strong group of players and a really good staff in place to achieve what we want to achieve, so it was a really easy decision to make.”

Fellow forward Williams added: “Leicester is a great place to play rugby and we have exciting times ahead of us as a squad.”

Supporters had been waiting for news of an extension to Veainu’s contract and got what they wanted on Monday.

“The boys are like family to me and the fans are loyal,” said the Tonga international. “I love playing at Welford Road.”

After an injury-affected first season at Welford Road, Toomua said he was excited about committing to the club for another few years, adding: “Leicester Tigers have a rich history and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to add to it.”

Cole, who made his 75th Test appearance for England in the win over Argentina on Saturday, has also extended his stay with his hometown club and said: “The quality and depth of the playing squad along with Matt O’Connor’s direction made re-signing an easy decision to make."