Duo signs new Tigers contracts
NEWS: Brendon O'Connor and Mike Fitzgerald have agreed to new terms to extend their time with Leicester Tigers.
O'Connor, the 27-year-old flank arrived at Welford Road in 2015, scoring a try on his debut in a European Rugby Champions Cup win over Stade Francais, and has now made 29 appearances for the club.
Tigers head coach Aaron Mauger said: "Brendon is a quality operator in the back row and he settled in well at Tigers when he arrived during last season.
"We feel that Brendon brings a high-quality continuity game to our team and suits the style of rugby we want to play due to his support lines and skills with ball in hand. He has also developed a more physical side to his game over the last six months which has been good to see.
"We believe that his best years are right in front of him so we look forward to working closely with him during this period,"
O'Connor led Hawkes Bay to victory in the 2015 Cup Championship Division and was a regular in Super Rugby with the Blues in Auckland before joining Tigers.
He said: "My debut against Stade in the European Cup was a real highlight of my first season at Leicester and it really showed me what rugby here is all about. With the crowd and the atmosphere at Welford Road, it was great.
"I was keen to stay, we've got a good group of guys in the squad and I'm excited by what this group can do.”
Versatile forward Fitzgerald joined Tigers in the summer of 2015 and has made 44 appearances playing at lock and flank, scoring four tries.
Tigers head coach Aaron Mauger welcomed the news that his fellow New Zealander has committed to the club and said: "Mike is a very good man to have around the squad. He has a great work ethic in training and on the pitch. With the experience he has gained in the last 18 months in English rugby we believe he will get even better in this environment.”
Fitzgerald joined Tigers from the Chiefs before the start of the 2015/16 season and was chosen as Players' Player of the Year as well as being shortlisted in the supporters' awards as Player of the Year and Best Newcomer. He played in 25 games for the club, including semifinals of Premiership and European Champions Cup, during that campaign.
Fitzgerald said: "I've enjoyed my time at the club so far and settled well here with my family. It was an easy decision to make to stay with the club.
"We've got a good group of boys and a very competitive set of forwards which helps everyone to improve.
"It's been a great experience playing in the Premiership and in Europe for Leicester, and I always want to get better as a player. I've had a couple of seasons of experience here now and hope to keep improving and also use that experience to develop more as a leader within that group if I can.”