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Tuesday Jul 7, 2020

Fans won't allow Veainu's sudden exit to tarnish his reputation

The abrupt exodus of players from Leicester Tigers last week would have felt like a surreal dream for many fans, as a torrent of departures were announced.

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The contract disputes and pay cuts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic saw the likes of Manu Tuilagi, Telusa Veainu and Kyle Eastmond leave Welford Road, to name a few. The Tigers tried to downplay the severity of the situation, but it is hard to replace such titans of the Midlands club.

This feverish dream would have only continued this week when it was revealed Veainu had joined Stade Francais, also ending any faint hopes that players would make a u-turn.

The Tonga international’s swift relocation should come as no surprise, as there would not have been a shortage in demand for him. However, there was the possibility that the sour ending to his five-year tenure with the English giants would have tarnished his reputation amongst its supporters.

But the reality is that these are such unique circumstances that players can hardly be blamed for assessing their options. While it is an unfortunate ending for the 29-year-old fullback, his legacy is secure as one of the club’s best players in recent times.

Given the slump the Tigers have endured in by their high standards, Veainu has been a paragon of consistency and solidity in the No15 shirt for Leicester. Indeed, his hypnotic footwork and pace have got his side out of some dire straits as they have battled relegation.

His exit has not altered the way he is viewed by fans, which is demonstrated by the tributes he has received on social media:

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While there is still some uncertainty surrounding the future of Manu Tuilagi, it could be more painful viewing if he moves away from the Tigers, having spent his entire career at Welford Road.

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