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Sale statement: Confirmed exit of England midfielder Manu Tuilagi

By Liam Heagney
Sale's Manu Tuilagi (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

Alex Sanderson’s Sale have confirmed that Manu Tuilagi will not be playing with them next season. It was exclusively reported by RugbyPass last Saturday that the midfield powerhouse would stay on in France following the Guinness Six Nations match in Lyon that night to visit Bayonne where a two-year deal was on the table.

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He is believed to have now come through his medical with the Top 14 side and while there was no reference in Tuesday evening’s Sale statement as to where Tuilagi is definitely moving, a switch to France will end his Test career as Steve Borthwick is unable to select players who aren’t based in England.

A statement read: “Sale Sharks can confirm that England and British and Irish Lions centre Manu Tuilagi will leave the club at the end of the current season. The 32-year-old, who won his 60th England cap in the final game of the recent 2024 Guinness Six Nations, joined Sharks from Leicester Tigers in 2020.

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“Manu has gone on to make 40 appearances in a Sharks shirt, scoring three tries, and was a key part of the side that reached the Gallagher Premiership final in 2022/23.

“Manu began his rugby career in the Tigers academy, following in his older brother Anitelea’s (Andy’s) footsteps. Andy also played three seasons for Sale Sharks between 2008 and 2011. He made the switch to the North-West on an initial one-year deal but, in September 2020, a serious achilles injury in just his eighth game for the Sharks ruled the Samoa-born centre out for eight months.

“Manu returned from the injury in May 2021 and was named in the updated England squad for their 2021 summer Tests against the USA and Canada. Manu was selected in the England squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup and played in every game, apart from the win against Chile. Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to wish Manu and his family all the best for the future.”

Tuilagi said: “I have absolutely loved my time at Sale. It was a really tough conversation with Al, and a tough decision for everyone because my family and I have been really happy here. I never thought I’d leave Leicester and it was a big move, but since arriving here I have grown a lot as a person. I have developed as a player but more so as a person.

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“The environment at Sale is amazing. It’s what makes me want to get out of bed and put the work in, and I genuinely love coming in every day. If I have helped the young players then that is great, but they have helped me so much too and I’m going to miss them all.

“The mindset from the start of the season was to win the Premiership and that is what we are all focused on now. Knowing it’s my last season here will give me an extra push to make sure I leave on a high.”

Sanderson added: “We talked about what was best for the club and what was best for Manu and his family, and we had to make a tough decision. But it’s still a wrench and really tough for me to accept that he is going.

“He is one of the world’s best players and one of the world’s best blokes. There are very few people who can do what he can on the field. As a player, he is every bit as good as I thought he was before I came here, but as a person he continues to surprise and inspire me to be better.

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“His outlook on life is incredible and he’s so forgiving of things that don’t go his way. That creates a relaxed environment around him and that impacts everyone. We will miss him massively on the field, but the void he leaves off it will be harder to fill.

“His smile is the same whether he is running onto the field ready to smash someone, or sitting opposite you having a glass of wine and I’m really going to miss that.”

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sean 28 minutes ago
The bite don't match the bark

Yeah, he has a few good points… I disagree that our 7s haven't done anything, we won Bronze in 2016, and we were virtually unplayable to the backend of the “teens” winning the series. 7s is far more competitive globally than Union, so it's fair to say we haven't dominated, but we are almost always contenders. But I do agree that our national side doesn't perform nearly as well as it should between World Cups, and I do agree that our supporters can be too passionate and the opitimity of what Rugby stands against. I have said so many times. And I also believe some context needs to be taken into account with Saturday's win for Ireland. They're a really good team! Settled coaching staff, and bar a few legends retiring, they've had a full season and plenty of time together. We have some youngsters being groomed for the future, have played only 3 games now under a new coaching team with new philosophies and game plans. I'm excited by what the future of this team holds, as much as I am disappointed by the result. But unlike this article suggests, I am never going to take away from what Ireland has achieved, is achieving, and where they're heading. As a Rugby fan, I love the tight games, like the last two weekends. As a Bok Super Fan, I agree we don't perform as well as we should. And as an aside, you come play a game at 7am on our fields, bud. -2°c and frost on the field that is as hard as concrete…. Then we’ll see just how tough you are. Well done Ireland! They played well, and gave our boys a lot to think about. That's what you want from the top two teams in the world. Rugby won. The fans of this greatbsport won. A'n bullshit like this article is why Rugby is losing its identity. I don't like soccer. This article perpetuates the soccer influences the game of Rugby is starting to see. It's why Wayne Barnes retired, feared for his family, and he isn't the only ref to say so. I have called out many Bok fans for being an embarrassment to the game, and I will continue to do so. Rugbypass.com, this article is close to the same bullshit. You should be better.

33 Go to comments
M
Michael 1 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Cant deny Christie is a good defender, box kicks well at times, BUT he’s a second too slow passing from the ground. Roigard, Ratima and Hotham will be our 2027 halfbacks I believe DMAC has played reasonably well in both games, so deserves to keep his place - his two breaks at Eden Park should have resulted in tries. Reece was really to blame for the Taylor failure - he stayed too wide, if he had come in a couple of meters the pass from Taylor would have worked. The Perofeta failure was extraordinary, he is normally such a good distributor, failure to draw in Steward was remarkable, failure to look inside was a shocker. Cory Flynn as lineout coach… umm something a miss here. Not sure who is calling the lineouts, but clearly we miss Whitelock’s leadership. Having a disfunctional line out really underminded the AB attack. But let’s remind ourselves Itoje is a master, and their tactics of going for the arms of the jumper on landing and pulling over was brilliant causing Paddy and Scooter to both fumble the balls. I am a Blues supporter so I like Talea, but if you play him on the wrong wing look out. While he’s not the fastest wing, he’s elusive and very industrious always looking for work. However, he’s not the tallest player, and everyone knows his weakness (a) being turned in defence - he’s slow to turn and react and (b) never jumps for high balls is normally out jumped. Personally, I find Recce and Talea too alike - Razor needs to couple them with another complementary partner Clark and Narawa respectively. However, for me the real troubling challenge is our mid-field. I am sorry Barrett & Ioane are a poor combo - either Barrett & Proctor or ALB & Ioane - but having two mid-fielders who are poor distributors is nuts. Jordie had a forgettable game in truth he missed so many tackles, which to be fair is unlike him. But sadly both Barrett and Ioane chose to bash first and rarely distribute cleanly.

22 Go to comments
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