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STEVE BORTHWICK starts work at Leicester Tigers tomorrow - but England trio Manu Tuilagi, George Ford and Ellis Genge might not stick around to help his rebuild.

Ex England No2 Borthwick arrives as the new head coach and heads straight into an ongoing contract saga at Welford Road.

1 Steve Borthwick worked under England boss Eddie JonesCredit: PA:Press Association

Players need to cut their wages after Premiership clubs voted to slash the salary cap by £1.

4million - and Tigers have yet to agree reduced deals with a number of their frontline stars who could walk away.

South Africa centre Jaco Taute said: "There's people way worse off in the world at the moment and everyone understands, but individuals just want the best for themselves without necessarily being overly greedy.

"It's about looking after your family and trying to make plans for the future. Hopefully the club and all the players can sort this out soon and all agree on an agreement that is beneficial for both parties and move on with it.

"There hasn't been any disruption in the changing rooms. It’s been a tough situation, but from both parties in our situation everyone is doing their best to find mutual agreements.

"It’s happening all over the world. It’s been unsettling for all of us, in every profession.

"It’s just been about trying to first get through the stages of the pandemic, and then looking to what the future can hold.

"As we know, the financial implications have been massive for everyone. I am at the stage of my career where I have played a lot of rugby, but I still want to be part of something special. I am in negotiation talks with the club and it has been going very well.

"I am positive and I am happy with how I am speaking to the club. Hopefully it will be soon. There is no pressure."

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Leicester's players continue to train as usual in Oadby, just south of the city centre, despite the government's enforced two-week lockdown imposed on the Midlands city.

Taute added: "It is frustrating that we will be on lockdown for another two weeks, but I am sure we can get through it.

"Hopefully as a community in Leicester, we can get through these two weeks and bring down the cases so things can come back to a little bit of normal."

Prince Harry shows off lockdown tan as he admits he's 'missing rugby'

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Everyone should do their bit and stand up to China – even if it’s cutting up your HSBC card

I AM about to end the longest unbroken relationship of my adult life. I am leaving HSBC, the mega-bank I joined six decades ago when it was the humble Midland.

It won’t cost me a penny — HSBC pays near-zero interest — and they won’t miss my few quid.

2Everyone should stand up to China - even if it's cutting up your HSBC card

But it is the least I can do after their surrender to China’s brutal crackdown on Hong Kong.

Britain responded to the vicious police beatings and random arrests by offering three million Hong Kong ­Chinese sanctuary in the UK.

HSBC — the London-based Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation — responded by cravenly siding with the Communist Party dragon.

It signed up to Beijing’s ruthless suppression of ­democracy, a worrying conflict of loyalties in this fast-moving diplomatic crisis.

Boris Johnson will stoke ­tensions further this week by cancelling Britain’s contract with China’s state-backed Huawei to build our new 5G network.

The PM will be effectively saying China is using Huawei to spy on Britain.

And hardline leader Xi Jinping is vindictive when roused.

Britain will pay a price for defending its former colony — and for protecting the military and intelligence security of the entire Western world.

Along with the rest of Europe, Britain has spent 15 years trying to build good ­relations with the world’s ­second largest economy.

We’ve turned a blind eye to its blatant espionage, cyber warfare, intellectual property theft and massive military expansion in return for cheap imports and rich pickings.

HUAWEI IS TOXIC

There have been no demos against its Uighur slave camps, the traffic in human organs from executed prisoners or the totalitarian surveillance of ­ordinary citizens rivalled only by North Korea.

Vast fortunes have been made as newly rich Chinese snap up Rolls-Royce cars, Scotch whisky, Burberry bags and British Steel.

It was no surprise yesterday to see sticky-fingered Peter Mandelson emerging with Tony Blair as part of a shadowy “48 Group” of go-betweens with Beijing.

The regime has been steadily buying up the world, building its Belt and Road across dirt-poor Africa and Asia and extending the global reach of Communist China.

Nothing could stop this ­juggernaut . . . until coronavirus exploded on an unsuspecting world, killing half a million people, including more than 40,000 in Britain alone.

But the key issue is global security, especially the ­unrivalled Five Eyes group of intelligence allies — America, Canada, Australia, New ­Zealand and Britain.

Huawei is toxic and Downing Street has now been forced to take a stand.

“This is an important turning point,” says a senior minister.

“The Government has recognised China is not well ­disposed towards us and the Western world.”

NO LOVE LOST

Australia was the first victim of China’s “wolf warrior” ­diplomacy, losing trade worth billions in iron, coal, wine and beef simply for seeking a global inquiry into the origins of Covid-19.

Former High­ ­Commissioner Alexander Downer yesterday condemned Beijing’s intimidating new stance.

“China has been extremely aggressive towards countries including the UK where it threatened all sorts of hell and damnation over its decision on Huawei’s involvement with 5G,” he said.

The West does not want ­conflict with China. But nor can Beijing afford to lose Western markets.

Its new middle class will not tolerate a cut in living standards, especially dearer food.

“The reason China has been so successful is because of trade,” says a Government insider.

“It has lifted its ­population out of poverty by trade with the free-market West. It depends on the ­prosperity of its people for its ability to rule.”

India would happily replace China as a low-cost supplier and there is no love lost between the two neighbours.

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Last month, 20 unarmed Indian soldiers at a Himalayan border post were murdered by club-wielding People’s ­Liberation Army troops.

As ever, the EU is dithering over Chinese aggression. ­Germany and France have no appetite for resistance.

Not for the first time we must stand alone. Everyone should do their bit. We can start by cutting up our HSBC card and find a bank that really listens.

2The PM will be effectively saying China is using Huawei to spy on BritainCredit: Getty Images - Getty
It must never happen again

INDEPENDENCE Day gave us a wonderful glimpse of the good old days just three months ago, when pubs and ­restaurants were the centre of our social lives.

But not entirely. Face masks hid our smiles, muffled our laughter, disguised us from our friends.

It was a bittersweet taste of liberation which only emphasised all we have lost – perhaps for ever.

Many offices, shops and one in ten Pret stores will never reopen. Millions of jobs have vanished.

It must never, never happen again.

Foriegn Secretary Dominic Raab deliverers a scathing statement to the Commons condemning China's new security laws in Hong Kong

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