It has been a 12-month period like no other for Leicester Tigers and rugby union as a whole.
The financial impact of the global pandemic has forced Gallagher Premiership clubs into some difficult decisions including staff redundancies, cost cutting, utilisation of the furlough scheme, as well as making changes to playing squads.
Steve Borthwick was announced as the club’s next head coach in January 2020 before officially starting work in July that year.
The former England coach and captain’s re-shaping of the Tigers squad continued this week with the immediate departures of Facundo Gigena and Blake Enever.
It takes the total number of players and coaches who have left the club since February 2020 to 30.
Here’s the full list below (does not include loan signings or players due to leave at the end of the season)
Greg Bateman: His five years at Welford Road ended when an agreement was not reached upon the renewal of his contract last summer when pay cuts were introduced due to the financial impact of Covid-19. The popular prop signed for the Dragons last September.
Phil Blake: The Australian started his second spell at Tigers as a defence coach in January 2020, he was released that summer.
Gaston Cortes: Argentinian tighthead spent six seasons at Bristol before joining Tigers in 2018. Upon his release last year he joined Major League Rugby side Toronto Arrows.
Sam Costelow: Wales U20 fly-half joined Scarlets during the break in the 2019/20 season and has made seven appearances for the Welsh region.
Kyle Eastmond: The centre’s time at Tigers came to an end at the same time as Bateman when a contract renewal agreement wasn’t reached. The 31-year-old former Bath, Wasps and England back was linked with London Irish and a return to Rugby League, but neither materialised.
Blake Enever: Australian second row made six Tigers appearances before his release in February 2021.
Facundo Gigena: Argentinian prop played 45 times for Tigers after making his debut in January 2018. Was released from his contract at the same time as Enever.
Owen Hills: The academy graduate loosehead prop joined Nottingham in June 2020.
Jonah Holmes: Winger/fullback was released from his contract in April 2020 after scoring 24 tries in three seasons. He was announced as a Dragons player the following month, a move that kept alive his hopes of adding to his international honours with Wales.
1. Facundo Gigena
2. Tatafu Polota-Nau
3. Greg Bateman
4. Blake Enever
5. Will Spencer
6. Guy Thompson
7. Jordan Taufua
8. Sione Kalamafoni
9. Sam Harrison*
10. Noel Reid
11. Jonny May
12. Kyle Eastmond
13. Manu Tuilagi
14. Adam Thompstone
15. Telusa Veainu
* – Harrison left in January 2020 and is not included in the main list
Sione Kalamafoni: Popular Tongan back rower spent five years at Gloucester before enjoying three years at Tigers. Joined the Scarlets midway through 2020.
Jonny May: England winger returned to Gloucester on July 1, 2020 after what he called a ‘challenging few years at Tigers’.
Geordan Murphy: Retired from playing in 2013 having played 322 for Tigers across 16 season. Worked his way up through the coaching ranks to director of rugby position. His contract, which was due to conclude this summer, was cancelled by mutual consent in November 2020.
Tatafu Polota-Nau: Australian hooker joined Tigers on a two-and-a-half year deal in November 2017. His contract wasn’t extended beyond last summer. He returned to Australia with Parramatta Two Blues in July 2020.
Noel Reid: Joined from Leinster ahead of the 2019/20 season but wouldn’t complete the campaign after he was among those who left the club when contracts were renegotiated. The Irishman subsequently joined Top 14 side Agen.
Will Spencer: Second row spent two seasons with Tigers before leaving last year to rejoin his first club Bath.
Boris Stankovich: The former prop, who played more than 100 times for Tigers between 2007 and 2014. Was part of the club’s coaching team from 2017 but left ahead of the 2020/21 season. He is now part of the Russian national side set-up.
Jimmy Stevens: Hooker was forced to retire from a concussion injury aged 29 in May 2020.
Jordan Taufua: One of the more recent departures. The 28-year-old played 18 times for Tigers after joining in February 2019. But, following interest from Lyon, he was allowed to leave with immediate effect and made his Top 14 debut against Clermont Auvergne.
Rob Taylor: Granted early release from his contract on compassionate grounds in November 2020 and returned to coach in New Zealand.
Joe Thomas: Former Ospreys centre was released by Tigers at the same time as fellow backs Adam Thompstone and EW Viljoen. He is currently on a short-term arrangement with the Dragons providing cover until the end of the season.
Guy Thompson: Back row spent two seasons at Tigers making 33 appearances. He joined ambitious Championship club Ealing Trailfinders and has played in friendly games against Saracens and Newcastle Falcons.
Adam Thompstone: The experienced winger left Tigers last summer having made more than 160 appearances for the club.
Manu Tuilagi: One of the ‘Leicester Five’ who left when contracts were renegotiated. Manu joined Sale Sharks and scored on his return to Welford Road in September 2020 but an Achilles injury shortly afterwards out for six months.
Telusa Veainu: Talented Tonga international was among the players who left when contracts were renegotiated last season. He subsequently joined Stade Francais.
EW Viljoen: The South African back joined from the Stormers but after a handful of Tigers games, he was released last summer and is back playing in his home country for the Lions.
Development Squad members Kyran Bungaroo,Sam Eveleigh,Leo Gilliland,Cameron Jordan and Keston Lines also left Tigers during 2020.