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Tigers extend deals with quintet of youngsters

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Leicester Tigers have extended the contracts of Osman Dimen, George Martin, Thom Smith, Freddie Steward and Jack Van Poortvliet.

The five Tigers Development Squad members, who returned to training in June after three months away from Oval Park, recommitted their futures to Leicester during the lockdown period.

“There is a lot of potential in them and that is what is most exciting, that there is still plenty to come from these young men who want to be Leicester Tigers players and part of our club"

Geordan Murphy

Dimen, who represented the club in the Premiership Rugby Shield during the 2018/19 campaign, joined the development programme in the summer of 2019 after impressing in outings for Leicester as well as Loughborough University.

The tighthead prop has played in the Premiership Shield this season and spent time on loan with Moseley in National League One.

Back-rower Smith, who signed a new deal as recently as February this year, has made two appearances for the senior side since joining the Development Squad ahead of the 2018/19 season and starred for the Tigers Academy on their way to the 2018 Under-18 League title.

Fellow forward Martin, who made his senior debut in the opening round of the 2019/20 Premiership Cup, was a member of two Academy League winning squads before making the step-up to the senior programme ahead of the current campaign.

An England Under-18s representative in 2018 and 2019, the Nottingham-born lock is a graduate of the Brooksby Melton College programme, and has extended after recently re-signing with Tigers in May.

Fellow England age-grade representatives Steward and Van Poortvliet have extended their contracts with the club after also agreeing new deals in recent months.

Full-back Steward made his senior debut in the 2018/19 season while still a member of the club’s Academy, and has gone on to make five appearances during the current campaign, which included making his European debut.

The 19-year-old, who played for England in the 2020 Under-20s Six Nations alongside Tigers team-mate Van Poortvliet, extends the contract he re-signed in April.

Scrum-half Van Poortvliet, who re-signed in May alongside Martin, made his senior team and Premiership Rugby debuts during the current campaign.

The Norfolk-born No9 played in back-to-back U18 League winning squads with the Tigers Academy after rising through the ranks at Leicester from attending Rugby Camps at North Walsham RFC and in the club’s Development Player Programme.

Speaking about quintet of young Tigers to recommit, Director of Rugby Geordan Murphy said: “These are young men who represent what we are about and to have them extend with us, after having only done so a couple of months ago, is something to get excited about.

“Each of them has earned their place in our programme and, while a part of it, have earned new deals through hard work and commitment to what we are building at Leicester Tigers.

“There is a lot of potential in them and that is what is most exciting, that there is still plenty to come from these young men who want to be Leicester Tigers players and part of our club.”