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'Tigers environment key to contract deals'

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Richard Cockerill says the Leicester Tigers environment, coaching and playing style all figure in players agreeing new contracts at the club.The club announced on Monday that Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs, Freddie Burns and club captain Ed Slater had all agreed terms on new contracts beyond the end of this season and director of rugby Cockerill says the whole Tigers package appeals to those players.   “There has been a lot of speculation, but it’s good to get it done and allow everyone to focus just on playing and planning for the rest of the season and after that,” said Cockerill after Monday’s announcement.   “It’ll be good to be able to not talk about contracts and get on with thinking about playing and trying to have a good season.   “We put our best foot forward with the players and they’re all important to us. We get criticised that we’re not always in a position to sign marquee players, but the four we announced this week are all in that kind of bracket quality-wise.   “It’s not just about finances with players either, your environment is important, and the coaches, and playing the kind of rugby that you enjoy, and being competitive. Players want to be well coached and improve.   “Don’t underestimate that even international players like Ben Youngs with 50 caps want to be stretched and get better, and the relationship with the coaches is important in that. In his case that means Aaron and Geordan, and it is working really well.   “We have a clear vision of how we want to play and we want continuity with the squad, we always want to keep our best players and build on that with our recruitment.”