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Tigers' World Cup winner sad to say goodbye

SPOTLIGHT: As his four seasons with Leicester Tigers draws to an end, World Cup winner Jasper Wiese looks set to head to Japan next season.

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The 28-year-old has made 78 appearances at Welford Road and will feature for the final time in the season-ending home game against Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.

The South African had a protracted farewell, having announced in December that he would be leaving the 11-time Premiership winners.

It is understood that he will play in Japan next season, although the identity of the club is not known.

“It’s sad that it’s coming to an end, but I’ve loved every minutes of it,” Wiese told BBC Radio Leicester.

Wiese’s final campaign at Tigers started after helping South Africa defend their World Cup crown in France.

He misses out on a glorious ending with Leicester, with Tigers eighth in the table and 12 points adrift of the play-off spots after a difficult first campaign under Australian head coach Dan McKellar.

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Asked what he wants from his final match in a Tigers shirt, Wiese said: “A win.”

But Wiese, who was named newcomer of the year in his first campaign and was voted players’ player of the season for the 2023-24 campaign on Tuesday, wants to do more than just savour one last victory.

 

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“It has been a tough year for this group, with a few results not going our way,” he said.

“For me, personally, it’s just for the group to enjoy it as much as they can and to not even worry about the result.

“There are a few guys leaving, so really enjoying the last few days we have together, the last game we have together, is the biggest thing.”

Despite Tigers’ lowly finish in the Premiership table, their second-round exit in the European Champions Cup and a Premiership Cup final loss, Wiese feels Tigers remain in a strong position to again challenge for silverware from next season.

The values engrained in Tigers players guarantees it, he said.

“I think the future is good,” Wiese added.

“Leicester has always been a special place, and I don’t think it’s the club but the people who are at the club – they have the right people here.

“Everyone knows that if you are a Leicester boy you want to be known as an honest, hard-working guy. The guys have to drive that as much as they can.

“Obviously, it has been a gritty start now, but I think the club will go to a special place.”

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