Leicester Tigers 'non' to Castro French deal
Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill has rubbished reports that prop Martin Castrogiovanni has agreed a move to big-spending French club Toulon.
Cockerill was responding to stories in the media, led by French newspaper La Province, who announced on Boxing Day that Toulon had reached "an agreement" with the Italian tight-head.
That sparked a wave of speculation on social networking sites that the ever-popular Castro would finally end his seven-year love affair with Leicester and its supporters.
But the 31-year-old, who has played second fiddle to Dan Cole in the big games this season, still has another year left on his three-year deal.
Cockerill said that even multi-millionaire Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal would struggle to afford to buy Castro out of his contract.
"I am aware of the interest in Castro and that has been going on for the last few weeks," said Cockerill.
"But there has been no official interest in Martin Castrogiovanni from Toulon at this moment in time and I would be surprised if their president had enough money to buy him out of his contract.
"Castro is under contract for another 12 months at Leicester and neither the player nor Toulon have spoken to me regarding any interest in him."
A Toulon bid for Castro is not beyond the realms of possibility, however, despite the Top 14 side already having the likes of world-class props Gethin Jenkins, Andrew Sheridan and Carl Hayman in their front-row.
Boudjellal has created the richest rugby club in the world, with the likes of Jonny Wilkinson, Freddie Michalak and Matt Giteau battling it out for the fly-half shirt alone.
They are already understood to have agreed terms with Saracens hooker John Smit and South African winger Bryan Habana for next season.