Sale boss Steve Diamond is hoping Manu Tuilagi will use his injury lay-off to come to a contract extension agreement with the Gallagher Premiership club following his arrival on a one-year deal from Leicester last July.    

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Tuilagi fell out with Tigers after they wanted all their squad to agree to make a temporary 25 per cent pay-cut permanent. He left the club along with Telusa Veainu (Stade Francais), Noel Reid (Agen), Greg Bateman (Dragons) and Kyle Eastmond (unattached) and was snapped up by Sale.

Since the restart of the 2019/20 campaign in August, Tuilagi featured in seven of the nine Gallagher Premiership and Premiership Cup matches Sale have played, but he now faces up to six months on the sidelines after suffering an achilles tear at Northampton on Tuesday. 

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That will rule him out of the league title run-in this month but other than that, coach Diamond doesn’t feel Tuilagi’s injury is a major loss to Sale as he would have been away over the winter and spring with England and would have only become available to Sale again next April following the completion of the 2021 Six Nations. 

In the meantime, Diamond will now hope to strike a deal with the 29-year-old that will keep the midfielder at the AJ Bell beyond his initially contracted twelve months. 

“It’s a whirlwind romance at the minute,” said Diamond about Sale’s new relationship with Tuilagi, who had spent his entire career until this summer at Leicester. “He’s a great lad. He loves it. He’s passionate. He’s as unlucky as Lood de Jager and as unlucky as Ben Curry. 

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“I’ll be looking to chat with Manu, definitely. We had a very good shaking hands agreement. He is signed until next July and we’re in no rush to sit down and sort something out, and he’s cool with that. He’s happy. If we can come up with the numbers I think he’d be delighted to stay with us.

“I don’t know (if he is a loss) because we wouldn’t have him until then, would we? Under the EPS regs and England playing, we wouldn’t get him back until after the Six Nations and then he needs his three weeks rest. 

“We’ll probably (now) get eight, nine, ten games out of him with a bit of luck which is what we would only have got anyhow. It’s England’s loss more so than us.

“He had been playing well for us. It was either him or Rohan van Rensburg on the wing on Tuesday night and I chose to put Rohan there, but I’d have put Manu out there this week (against Worcester on Sunday). He has been playing well for us, he trains well, doesn’t make many errors. He picks up everything we’re doing,” continued Diamond, who added he won’t seek out injury cover.  

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“No. I’ve got both the James brothers, I have got Sam Hill, I have got Rohan van Rensburg, I have got Connor Doherty, so I have got enough centres to be fair.  

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