Leicester to fill hooker gap with short-term Super Rugby signing


Gallagher Premiership champions Leicester have reportedly signed NSW Waratahs hooker Tom Horton ahead of the September start of their title defence. The return of axed Stade Francais front-rower Tolu Latu to the Super Rugby Pacific franchise has created added competition for the No2 jersey in Sydney and it will result in the exit on a short-term deal of Horton, the 25-year-old who made ten appearances this season – just two as a starter.

Steve Borthwick has a gaping vacancy to fill at Leicester with Tom Youngs retired, Julian Montoya on Rugby Championship duty with Argentina and Nic Dolly, the recent England pick, facing a long spell on the sidelines due to the serious knee injury he suffered when crocodile rolled that a ruck last May.

A foxsports.com.au report explained that Latu joining the Waratahs on a one-year deal opened up the prospect for Horton to seek out development elsewhere and that will happen in the coming months at Leicester, who begin their 2022/23 campaign on September 10 at Exeter.

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The report read: “Tolu Latu is once again a Waratah and the hooker could yet emerge as a player of national interest should he keep on the straight and narrow over the next 16 months. After weeks of negotiations with the Waratahs, the 21-Test hooker signed a one-year deal with the Super Rugby franchise last week.

“By doing so, Darren Coleman has opted for the immense capability of Latu over rising hooker Tom Horton to compete with Wallabies incumbent hooker Dave Porecki and Mahe Vailanu. It can be revealed Horton, 25, will instead join up with England Premiership champions Leicester, who are coached by Eddie Jones’ former right-hand man Steve Borthwick.

“With Argentine international Julian Montoya unavailable, Tom Youngs retired and Sydney-born England squad member Nic Dolly injured, Borthwick needs a hooker and Horton will compete for the role once his visa is approved and he touches down in the region.

“The short-term deal is the perfect opportunity for Horton to grow after a frustrating few years where injuries have slowed his development. But the Sydney Uni hooker only needs to look at his former teammate Porecki for inspiration, with the 29-year-old plying his trade in England for years before an opening popped up back at the Waratahs last year.

“Porecki’s Wallabies debut was delayed by a year because of an injury, but the experienced rake was one of Dave Rennie’s best players against England in July.”

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