NEWS | Cockerill confirms player departures

Head Coach Richard Cockerill today confirmed that back-row Cornell du Preez, scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and stand-off duo Duncan Weir and Jason Tovey will leave the club at the end of the season.

“We’re looking to build this squad for the next three, four, five years so we can have some continuity and build some strength so we’re able to compete,” said the Head Coach.

“When I arrived, there were lots of forwards and not so many backs so we’ve got to get a balance to this squad across the forward pack and the back line.

“It’s not a short-term thing. We’ve got to remodel the playing roster a little bit at the end of this season and that will evolve.”

Playmaker Weir, who was today poised to complete a loan move to Worcester Warriors, has been recalled to the squad and will feature against Ulster on Friday night.

Cockerill continued: “Unfortunately, because Jason Tovey and Phil Burleigh are out injured and Blair Kinghorn will be retained by the Scotland team, I’m bringing Duncan back for this weekend because we need that coverage – we can’t expose ourselves for the next week or so.

“But Duncan needs an opportunity and there’s an opportunity at Worcester. Now because he is a good man, we’ll let him take that opportunity, because he needs to go and find a new club. Where possible, we’ll try and help any player to move on in a positive way.

On the confirmed departures, Cockerill added:

“You have to make good decisions, which sometimes can seem a bit tough because of what you’re paid to do, in getting the best team out on the field. The squad next season will be smaller but it’ll be of better quality.”