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Sale resigned to losing Manu Tuilagi

By PA
Manu Tuilagi (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson is resigned to losing the services of star centre Manu Tuilagi to England following his try-scoring display in the 36-12 win against Worcester.

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After making his comeback versus Harlequins last weekend, Tuilagi started against the Warriors and played a key role as the Sharks overturned a 12-10 deficit at the break.

The England international got the ball rolling in the second period, touching down early on to take Sale ahead.

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From that point onwards the hosts never looked back, and completed a bonus-point victory thanks to further tries from Arron Reed, who went over twice, Sam James, Curtis Langdon and Rohan Janse van Rensburg.

“Manu was outstanding again,” Sanderson said. “He will phone Eddie ((England head coach Eddie Jones) tomorrow and they will make up their own plan.

“Fortunately – because it’s good for the country – he will go to England and will hopefully do as good a job there as he has here for the last two weeks.

“I’m really excited for him. He’s going to do well because he’s trained hard, he’s prepped well and his head is in a good place.”

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Sanderson also praised scrum-half Raffi Quirke, who played a key role off the bench against the Warriors.

Despite making an excellent impact for England in the autumn, Quirke is yet to feature in the Six Nations with Harry Randall and Ben Youngs the preferred options.

“I’m biased, he would be my starting nine whatever side I was picking or coaching,” the Sale director of rugby said.

“So long as he keeps doing that, and he’s up against the other best scrum-half in the world (Faf de Klerk), it’s going to make it very difficult for Eddie not to pick him. That’s all he can do, that’s all he can control.

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“At the moment it’s Eddie’s opinion and he has to respect that, but the way you change someone’s opinion is through continuing to play like that.”

Worcester boss Steve Diamond echoed Sanderson’s praise for Quirke after seeing his side succumb to the Sharks.

Diamond was returning to Sale for the first time since leaving the club in December 2020 and was content with the Warriors’ efforts, but admitted the hosts’ bench impact was significant.

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“The bench that came on made a difference for Sale,” he said. “Quirke came on, Rohan Janse van Rensburg came on and they made a big difference.

“It’s one of those days when you can’t say too much to the players as they gave it their all, it just wasn’t good enough.

“We need to get our basics right, as I’ve said to them every day since I’ve been in the building, and we’ll continue to do that. There was vast parts of that game I was happy with.

“When you bring somebody like Quirke off the bench, he made Faf look slow today and made a huge impact. You can’t legislate for the off-loads that he’s able to do.”

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