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Five stars extend their stay with Leicester Tigers

Five stars extend their stay with Leicester Tigers

Dan Cole, Matt Toomua, Telusa Veainu, Mike Williams and Greg Bateman all put pen to paper on new deals as Leicester Tigers gave their fans plenty to celebrate on Monday morning.

Despite losing a nail-biting and thrilling Anglo-Welsh Cup clash at Bath Rugby 33-31 on Friday, Leicester Tigers kicked off the new week with plenty of positive news.

Front-rower Bateman’s new contract with the Welford Road club was the first to be announced, with Williams, Veainu, Toomua and finally British & Irish Lion Cole following suit, to boost Leicester Tigers ahead of Sunday’s Aviva Premiership Ruby clash at home against Sale Sharks.

Greg Bateman

Bateman created a piece of Tigers history in 2016-17 by playing in all three front-row positions during the season.

The front-rower is approaching 50 first-team appearances for the club since his arrival from Exeter Chiefs in the summer of 2015.

The 28-year-old Bateman said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the last two-and-a-half years here and I am delighted to extend my stay.

“We have a really strong group of players and a really good coaching staff in place to achieve what we want to achieve, so it was a really easy decision to make and I am looking forward to the challenges.

“The age profile is very good, so as a group there is so much more growth to come. It’s an exciting time to be a Tiger.”

Mike Williams

The Zimbabwe-born Williams joined Tigers in the summer of 2015 and was named in the England Elite Player Squad for 2016-17, joining the training squad in the Six Nations period last season.

The 26-year-old has been involved in six games so far this season, and has made 37 appearances since arriving from Worcester Warriors.

Williams, who made his debut for Tigers in October 2015, said: “I am honoured to extend my stay at the club. It was an easy decision to make, I was more than happy to renew my stay here.

“Leicester were so good to me throughout my injury to my arm, it’s a great place to play rugby and we have exciting times ahead of us as a squad.

“We didn’t have the start to the season we wanted but we had a good run at the back end of the Aviva Premiership block and the squad is in a really good place and we’re looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

Telusa Veainu

Tonga international Veainu has been in eye-catching form this season, scoring five tries in eight appearances for Tigers, in his third year with the club.

Following playing spells in New Zealand and Australia, Veainu joined Tigers after playing for Tonga in the 2015 Rugby World Cup and has scored 23 tries in 48 appearances for the club.

Veainu, 26, said: “I’m very settled here in Leicester, it’s my home away from home so it was an easy decision to make. I want to win and I play my best rugby here.

“The boys are like family to me and the fans are loyal. I love playing at Welford Road – and I couldn’t leave Ellis Genge on his own!”

Matt Toomua

Australia international centre Matt Toomua has agreed a contract extension to stay with Leicester Tigers up to 2020.

Toomua moved to the East Midlands during the opening weeks of the 2016-17 season but suffered a knee injury in the European Champions Cup victory over Racing at Welford Road just two games into his Tigers career.

He worked his way back to full fitness for the start of the new season and has proved a key player in the opening stages of the season.

Toomua, 27, said: “I’m very excited about committing to the club for a few more years.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. Despite having an injury-interrupted first year, I have loved being a part of the club and am very excited about our ambitions in the near future.

“Leicester Tigers have a rich history and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to add to it.”

Dan Cole

A Tigers academy graduate, Cole made his senior debut for his hometown club in October 2007 and has made 185 appearances in the front row as well as playing in 75 Tests for England and gaining selection on two tours with the British & Irish Lions.

Cole said: “I am very happy to sign a new contract at Leicester. The quality and depth of the playing squad along with the direction of Matt O’Connor made re-signing an easy decision to make.”

Tigers head coach Matt O’Connor added: “Coley is an outstanding player and a great example of a player who has come through the ranks at the club, earning his place in the senior squad and progressing to become first choice for club and country.

“He is among a core of senior professionals who have come through together here and are now in key leadership roles within the squad.

“He has played a lot of rugby at the very top end of the game with club and country, and his consistency over a long period of time is what makes him such an important player.”

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