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Julian Salvi is set to stay at Leicester Tigers

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Leicester Tigers' negotiations to extend the stay of out-of-contract Julian Salvi are "near completion".

Director of rugby Richard Cockerill said the Aussie openside-flanker was very close to committing his future to the club.

During a time of busy contract negotiations, Cockerill also revealed that fly-half George Ford – the subject of transfer speculation all season – is also keen to extend his stay at Welford Road past this season.

"Julian Salvi is near completion now," said Cockerill. "It is yet to be signed but it is pretty close.

"We have been talking to guys like him and George Ford for months.

"Jules compliments our back-row nicely and he has been really good for us.

"The openside flanker role is good for us now and, historically, we have always had strong players in that position like Lewis Moody, Neil Back and Josh Kronfeld.

"And these days, there are not shelf-fulls of out-and-out sevens in the market.

"In the Premiership, I can think of Jonathan Poff (Wasps) and Andy Hazell (Gloucester) and that's about it."

If Salvi's deal does go the final hurdle, it will be a huge boost to the club.

The 27-year-old has been a key player in Leicester's make-up and his absence during a four-week period in October with a broken hand made him conspicuous by his absence.

Ford, meanwhile, has attracted constant media attention after signing just a one-year deal last summer.

In the interim, the former England Under-20 skipper has been linked to every club that could do with a new fly-half next season.

Cockerill believes Leicester is top of his list of destinations, however.

"The discussions with George are on-going," said Cockerill. "He wanted to see where he stood and how much he would play.

"Well, he has played a lot (seven starts). He has done some good things and he is exactly where I thought he would be development-wise at this stage of his career.

"There are no definitives in the discussions at this point but he wants to stay and we want him to stay.

"Hopefully, with the game time he is getting, he understands where he is in the grand scheme of things."

Ford is likely to make his eighth start of the year at Treviso on Saturday.

Cockerill has ruled out Toby Flood for a further week with the toe injury he picked up on England duty during the autumn internationals.

Flanker Steve Mafi is also out with a knee problem but both men are expected back for next week's return to Aviva Premiership action.

Tigers will also be forced into a change on the flanks with Fijian international Vereniki Goneva having been ruled out with a knee injury.

"Mafi and Flood are not quite right at this point," said Cockerill. " Goneva will probably be out for around four weeks."

Louis Deacon and Anthony Allen are both set to return to the match-day squad, however, as Tigers head to Treviso looking to complete a Heineken Cup double over their Italian opponents.

Former Leicester Tigers prop Graham Rowntree has been named as part of the British & Irish Lions coaching staff for the tour of Australia this summer. Wales' Warren Gatland is head coach.

Julian Salvi is set to stay at Leicester Tigers


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