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Leicester to face contract rebels in court in unfair dismissal dispute

Leicester Tigers ex-centre Noel Reid

LEICESTER TIGERS are gearing up for a massive legal battle which could cost them £1 million after telling five former players that they will see them in court.

Noel Reid, Greg Bateman, Telusa Veainu, Kyle Eastmond and Manu Tuilagi all had their contracts terminated in July after refusing to take a 25 per cent pay cut.

The quintet decided to launch a claim against the Tigers who are one of the most successful clubs in English rugby history for unfair dismissal.

And last week solicitors for the Tigers told them after a series of delays that they would be fighting the claim even though some legal advisors believe that they will lose in court.

The Rugby Paper understands that Reid, Bateman and Tuilagi have already decided that they will be suing the Tigers to mitigate their loses while Veainu and Eastmond are still considering their position.

Former cross-code international Eastmond, who has been heavily linked with a move to London Irish, is the only one of the five yet to find a new club.

The others were quick to move to clubs in the Premiership, France and Wales but Eastmond is taking his time to weigh up his options before looking to continue his career.

Meanwhile, Tigers have started a search for a new scrum coach, and Geordan Murphy could do worse than turn to his former team-mate and business partner Martin Castrogiovanni.

The Tigers need to replace Boris Stankovich, who has been linked with a move to France but is taking his time to decide his next move.

Tigers legend Castrogiovanni could bring some of his Latin spirit and winning mentality as well as healing his  rift with the club who he served with such distinction, winning two Premiership crowns.

The Tigers want someone in place by the time of pre-season training on October 26, but Steve Borthwick could take on the job in the short term.

Tigers will consider someone for a consultant role if they are not free immediately before a permanent move next summer.

NEIL FISSLER

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