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Murphy addresses Manu Tuilagi rumours

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Geordan Murphy addresses sightings of Manu Tuilagi in France

Leicester Tigers headcoach Geordan Murphy has addressed recent sightings of Manu Tuilagi in France this week.

Speculation of a switch from the Premiership to the Top 14 for Tuilagi is rife among French media after the England midfielder was spotted at Racing 92 on Monday, according to L’Equipe.

Fresh after thrashing France 44-8 in their Six Nations clash at Twickenham on Sunday, the barnstorming 27-year-old reportedly visited the Parisian club’s training facilities with just four months left on his contract with Leicester Tigers.

Headcoach Murphy addressed the rumours around the blockbusting centre, saying Tuilagi had ‘within his rights’ to look around.

“He is perfectly within his rights to have a look around,” Murphy told BT Sport. “Hopefully we will be able to keep Manu, but sometimes it’s not possible.”

Tuilagi made his professional debut with Leicester in 2010, and has amassed more than 140 appearances for the club in an injury-riddled nine-year spell.

He made his international debut a year later for England, and currently has 31 test appearances to his name, which includes a cap for the British and Irish Lions against Australia in 2013.

A move across the Channel to the Top 14 in the coming months would make Tuilagi ineligible for further international selection after the World Cup, as English players signed to offshore clubs are considered unavailable.

However, despite Leicester’s willingness to keep Tuilagi on their books, it is believed Racing 92 is fighting off interest from fellow Top 14 sides Lyon and Toulon to lead the race for the England star’s signature.

Racing 92 currently sit in seventh position in the Top 14, just two points shy of breaking into a top six play-off spot.

Continentally, the six-time French national champions are set to face Toulouse in the European Champions Cup quarter-finals next month after topping their pool in comprehensive fashion.

Given their prowess both domestically and in European competitions, Racing 92 would appear to be an ideal location for Tuilagi to add to the solitary Premiership title he won with Leicester in 2013.

After two strong showing in the opening fortnight of the Six Nations, Tuilagi is likely to be back in action next weekend when England take on Wales at Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

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Geordan Murphy addresses sightings of Manu Tuilagi in France