Manu Tuilagi is set to make his Welford Road return this Saturday just two months after the England midfielder was one of five players who refused to take a permanent wage cut at Leicester and left the club. Tuilagi, along with Telusa Veainu, Noel Reid, Greg Bateman and Kyle Eastmond, opted to exit the Tigers at the start of July rather than accept a proposed 25 per cent permanent pay cut.

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He soon joined title-chasing Sale and will now make a return to Leicester after being named in the Sharks side looking to build on last weekend’s comfortable home win over title rivals Bristol.  

Tuilagi posted a message to Leicester fans on July 14 after he had been unveiled as a Sale signing. “I would like to take this opportunity to convey our thanks to everybody at Leicester Tigers for all their love and support for the past eleven years,” he said.

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“I’m very grateful for all the support and friendship from the coaches and all the staff at the club, but even more so to the remarkable supporters who make the Tigers such a unique special club. It has been an enormous honour and privilege for me and my family to be part of the history of one of the greatest rugby clubs in the world.

“The Tigers have always been so special to myself and my brothers for the past 20 years. I wish for nothing but the best for our Tigers family going forward. Everyone has their own pathway in life and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

That future will see him partner Rohan Janse van Rensburg in the midfield at Welford Road in a selection that sees stand-in captain Ben Curry rotated after an impressive showing over the last two rounds. He is replaced at openside flanker by twin brother Tom, who is joined by club captain Jono Ross and Daniel du Preez in the back row. 

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Leicester, meanwhile, have opted for wholesale changes following last Sunday’s loss at Gloucester, Tomas Lavanini and Charlie Clare their only repeat starters to face Sale. 

LEICESTER: 15. Freddie Steward; 14. David Williams, 13. Jaco Taute, 12. Matt Scott, 11. Nemani Nadolo, 10. George Ford (capt), 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Ellis Genge, 2. Charlie Clare, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Tomas Lavanini, 5. Calum Green, 6. Harry Wells, 7. Luke Wallace, 8. Hanro Liebenberg. Reps: 16. Jake Kerr, 17. Facundo Gigena, 18. Nephi Leatigaga, 19. Cameron Henderson, 20. Jordan Taufua, 21. Ben White, 22. Zack Henry, 23. Guy Porter.

SALE: 15. Luke James; 14. Denny Solomona, 13. Manu Tuilagi, 12. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11. Marland Yarde; 10. AJ MacGinty, 9. Faf de Klerk; 1. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Akker van der Merwe, 3. Jake Cooper-Woolley, 4. Jean-Luc du Preez, 5. Lood de Jager, 6. Jono Ross (capt) 7. Tom Curry, 8. Daniel du Preez. Reps: 16. Euan Ashman, 17. Valerey Morozov, 18. Will-Griff John, 19. Cameron Neild, 20. Matt Postlethwaite, 21. Will Cliff, 22. Sam James, 23. Arron Reed.

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