Waratahs centre confirms departure to Leicester

Waratahs centre confirms departure to Leicester

NSW Waratahs centre Izaia Perese has confirmed he will leave the club at the end of the year and join English Premiership side Leicester.

The Tigers made the announcement on Thursday to sign the centre on a multi-year deal, set to link up with former Brumbies coach Dan McKellar.

“I’d like to thank my teammates, coaches, staff, members, and supporters of this great club for welcoming me into the Waratahs family and making my family and I feel so welcome since we arrived," Perese said in a statement.

“I’ve really developed my game here and I’ll always be grateful to Darren, Gilly, Whits, Pauli, and Shannon for helping me improve as a player.

“It was a difficult decision to leave the club, but it’s also an exciting opportunity for my family and I to experience life in the UK and for me to take on a new challenge in my career.

“I’ll be looking to give my best in every game for the remainder of the season and hopefully give this competition a real shake come finals time.”

Perese joined the club in 2021 and was an instant revelation, starring for the Waratahs after returning from French club Bayonne.

He would win the Matt Burke Cup for Player of the Year despite a red card in his debut game.

His impressive form caught the eye of Wallabies selectors, with Perese handed his debut at the end of the season against Scotland.

The 26-year-old has played six games for Australia, including starting at the 2023 Rugby World Cup against Portugal.

“We can’t wait to welcome Izaia and his young family to Leicester," Leicester Tigers general manager, Richard Wilks said.

“We set out to add a player with pace and power and we certainly feel we’ve done that.

“He’s a player that gets you out of your seat and I’ve no doubt our supporters will enjoy watching him play in a Tigers shirt.”

"Izzy’s a real point of difference player with footwork, power, and the ability to beat defenders," McKellar added.

“He’s always had immense talent, but he’s added to that natural game with his defence, his effort areas and having worked with him in the Wallabies environment, I know he’s someone who will thrive playing at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.”

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