Mafi pays tribute to Leicester

Date published: August 22 2014

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Steve Mafi has thanked the players, officials and supporters of Leicester Tigers after confirming his return to Australia.

Steve Mafi has thanked the players, officials and supporters of Leicester Tigers after confirming his return to Australia.

Leicester have confirmed that Mafi has been released from his contract in order to return to Australia, and Super Rugby outfit the Western Force have announced his signing on a two-year contract.

Tonga international forward Mafi made 85 appearances for the Tigers, including a try-scoring appearance in the 2012 Aviva Premiership Final and a Man of the Match performance in the LV= Cup Final victory that season. He also played in the Aviva Premiership Final win at Twickenham in 2013.

Mafi though made only four starting appearances during 2013/14 after spending a lengthy period with family in Australia.

“It has been a tough decision to have to ask for a release from my Leicester contract, but being away from my baby son and family in Australia has been difficult and I wanted to be closer to them,” said Mafi.

“Leicester took a chance on signing me in 2010 and the environment was different to anything I had experienced before in rugby.

“I learned a huge amount in four years with a massive club, working with the coaches and the rest of the players, and I enjoyed playing in some huge games, including cup finals, with them.

“I'll be forever grateful for the opportunity that Tigers gave me in top-level professional rugby and I wish them all the best for the future.

“I'd like to thank Simon Cohen, Richard Cockerill, the players and, of course, the fans for their support and understanding during my time at the club.”

“Steve came here with very little known about him, but he made a big impact with the Tigers and developed into a top-class player during his time here,” sid Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

“Due to personal circumstances, however, he wished to be closer to his family and we have agreed to release him from his contract. We wish him and his family well for the future.”

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