Manu Tuilagi needed just 25 minutes to remind Leicester of what he has to offer, the England midfielder scoring for Sale on his return to Welford Road just two months after he quit the club where he had spent his entire career. 

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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.

He soon joined title-chasing Sale and was chosen by Steve Diamond to make his return to Leicester this Saturday as the Sharks looked to build on last weekend’s comfortable home win over title rivals Bristol. 

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Chosen alongside Rohan Janse van Rensburg in the powerful midfield, Tuilagi quickly hurt Leicester on the scoreboard, liing up to take a pass from Faf de Klerk and batter his way over after a five-metre scrum. 

That put Sale 15-6 ahead in a game where their eventual 40-31 win moved back into second place after they fell to fourth before kick-off due to Wasps winning at Saracens and Bristol’s Friday night win at Worcester.   

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.”

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