Aviva Premiership: Mike Fitzgerald signs for Leicester Tigers

Chiefs lock looking forward to testing himself in Europe after four seasons with Super Rugby side

Mike Fitzgerald will join Leicester from Super Rugby franchise the Chiefs in the summer.

The 28-year-old, who won back=to-back Super Rugby titles with Hamilton-based franchise in 2012 and 2013, is the latest southern hemisphere player heading to Welford Road.

I like the style of play and type of rugby the Tigers are known for, and I am looking forward to testing myself in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe.

Mike Fitzgerald on move to Welford Road

On Monday, the Midlands club announced that New Zealand-born wing Peter Betham will also join the club from the NSW Waratahs, while the club have also signed Blues flanker Brendon O’Connor, and Crusaders assistant coach Aaron Mauger will join the Tigers’ coaching set up next season.

Fitzgerald has been the top lineout target in the 2015 Super Rugby season to date and the Aucklander, who plays his provincial rugby for Manawatu, announced last month he was heading overseas, but declined to name his destination.

“I have loved my time playing for the Chiefs and the Turbos in New Zealand, but feel it’s the right time to make the move with my young family across to the UK,” Fitzgerald said.

“We’re excited about linking up with the Tigers and settling into Leicester.

“I like the style of play and type of rugby the Tigers are known for, and I am looking forward to testing myself in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe.”

With England lock Geoff Parling heading to Exeter Chiefs in the summer and two locks set to retire, Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill believes that the 6ft 5in, 18st forward will be a good addition to his engine room.

“Mike will be a good addition to our group of locks, especially with the retirement of Louis Deacon and Brad Thorn,” Cockerill said.

“He has played in very good company at the Chiefs and now wants the experience of playing rugby in Europe.”

The Tigers have already announced the addition of Zimbabwe-born lock Mike Williams from Worcester Warriors as well as Tongan international Opeti Fonua.

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