Leicester sign Argentina's Moroni after Tuilagi exit

London (AFP) –


English Premiership club Leicester announced the signing of Argentine international Matias Moroni on Monday, with the Pumas player set to replace the departed Manu Tuilagi.

The 29-year-old, who plays predominantly at centre, is one of five new faces at the club.

Tuilagi ended his long association with Leicester earlier this month after failing to agree terms on an amended contract and has joined Premiership rivals Sale.

Geordan Murphy, Leicester's director of rugby, said the 47-times capped Moroni would add quality on and off the pitch.

"He has carved out an impressive career in the southern hemisphere, as well as featuring as a regular member of the Argentina squad since making his international debut and brings with him a wealth of experience," said Murphy.

"Our conversations with Matias have shown him to be an impressive man, who will contribute to what we are building at Leicester Tigers off the pitch, as well as on the pitch with his work ethic and skill-set."

Moroni, who joined from Super Rugby side Jaguares, said: "I'm delighted and honoured to be part of Leicester Tigers. It is such a historic club with the biggest crowd in England."

Moroni, who can play at centre, wing or full-back, was one of five new signings announced by the club.

Fiji international Kini Murimurivalu is another new arrival, ending an eight-year stay with French club La Rochelle.

Murphy said: "He is not only entertaining in attack but also a physical, strong defensive player and adds a wealth of experience to our side."

The other additions are Hurricanes' South African back Kobus van Wyk, former Harlequins back-rower Luke Wallace and English-born centre Guy Porter, who joins from the ACT Brumbies.

Ten-time domestic champions Leicester would be bottom and facing relegation had Saracens not been penalised for persistent breaches of the salary cap.

The 2019/20 Premiership season resumes next month following the coronavirus shutdown.