Martin Castrogiovanni has 'lost all respect' for Leicester Tigers' director of rugby Richard Cockerill

Italian prop speaks out over move to Toulon and claims there are 'very few happy players' at the club

Aviva Premiership champions Leicester Tigers will kick-off their title defence at home against Worcester Warriors as Dean Ryan makes his return to the top flight of English rugby.

Castro, as he is affectionately known throughout the rugby world, has joined Toulon having played for the Tigers for seven years, but he has spoken out on the move having paid out of his own pocket to be released from his contract a year early.

The 31-year-old said: “I am not ashamed to admit that I paid to join Toulon out of my own pocket. It was the only way I had to do it.

“The only thing that really annoys me concerns the people at Leicester who handled the transfer, chief executive Simon Cohen and director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

“After all my years of service with Leicester, I did not expect them to behave in such an ungracious manner towards me. I must say they have disappointed me terribly,” continued the Italian prop.

“I have lost all respect for these two people, given the way they have spoken about me and the way they handled my departure.”

Castrogiovanni left his native Argentina at the age of 19 to play in Italy, and thanks to his Grandmother’s Italian heritage, he has gone on to make 97 appearances for the Azzuri.

He slipped behind England’s Dan Cole in the pecking order at Welford Road, but he remained a fan favourite throughout his time in the midlands, with many fans saddened at his departure.

Castrogiovanni added: “I can totally understand that my coaches at Leicester consider Dan Cole to be better than me.

“I would just like them to have said so straight to my face and show me what I had to improve to play more. I only started six matches last season, so, of course, playing more was one of the main reasons for my departure.

“You cannot hope to keep everyone happy by changing the squad around systematically and I can assure you that there are very few happy players at Leicester today. That is hard to say, but the truth cannot remain hidden forever.

“It is not the fault of the club because there are wonderful people working there and the Leicester fans are the same. I have always been straight with the club and its directors.”

Seeking competitive rugby, Castrogiovanni had been linked with a move to free-spending Toulon even before the two sides met in last season’s Heineken Cup quarter-finals. The Heineken Cup champions were keen on the signing, as they attempt to strengthen their already star-studded squad having missed out on the Top 14 title to Castres.

“I had a long talk with Bernard Laporte and Olivier Azam at Toulon after the match. They told me they would not abandon me and that, sooner or later, I would become a Toulon player. They kept their word.

“I won’t hide the fact that Toulon made me a very interesting offer from a financial point of view, but money was not the main reasons for coming here. I want to win still more trophies.”

First-team rugby is not a given at Toulon though, as he will be in direct competition for the number three shirt with New Zealander Carl Hayman, who made the switch from Newcastle in 2010.

The bearded front-row told the Midi Olympique: “Carl is still one of the best in the world. When he was at Newcastle, I played against him several times. His presence motivates me more than it frightens me.

“I am perfectly aware I cannot play every game, but nor do I want to find myself in the situation of playing one and being relegated to the bench for the next one. You need a sequence of matches for your confidence.

“This move is a great honour for me because the best players in the world are here. When you find yourself on the same pitch as (Jonny) Wilkinson, (Andrew) Sheridan, (Bakkies) Botha, (Chris) Masoe, (Freddie) Michalak and (Matt) Giteau, it has to be a great thrill.

“I felt good at Leicester, but I could never have imagined a few months ago that a club with such an armada should want to recruit me.”

Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
peopleFilm star says he is 'not interested in making money anymore'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
Sport
footballAccording to revelations from Sergio Aguero's new biography
News
news
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Life and Style
Meow! ... Again, Kim Kardashian goes for a sexy Halloween costume, wrapping her body with a latex catsuit and high heeled knee boots
fashionFrom Heidi Klum to Kim Kardashian
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Extras
indybest
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
Arts and Entertainment
filmsOculus Rift offers breathtakingly realistic simulation of zero gravity
Life and Style
tech

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker