After Manu Tuilagi was seen at Top 14 outfit Racing 92’s training ground recently, it has caused quite a stir on Twitter.
This has caused a lot of confusion amongst England fans, as they cannot quite make sense of the timing of this move, as Tuilagi has just worked his way back into the England team after years of persistent injuries and off-field misdemeanours.
Many people may have thought that the big centre’s international career was over as he simply could not make a run of games. The fact that he is back to his best in an England shirt is why so many fans are questioning this move.
Just as he becomes important to England again. ?
— Barry Largent (@BarryLargent) February 15, 2019
Think that ends his international career then mind
— Ieuan Davies (@ieubird) February 15, 2019
I’d imagine the RFU aren’t too happy either way after investing so much in a player that’s been unavailable through injury for a big chunk of his career. Excellent player though and deserves his opportunity for a big earner.
— Martin O'Sullivan (@therocketncw) February 15, 2019
Seems odd that he’d break back into the England setup and then bin it off. Especially if Leicester have offered a deal.
— Robert Rees (@Rreesrugby) February 15, 2019
Seems a strange one – speaks about loving playing for England but ready to give it up to go to France when he’s just come back. He’s not exactly on a bad wage in England, plus you factor in the England fees he’s getting!
— Tom Sansom (@sansom_tom) February 15, 2019
Feel like he owes a certain degree of loyalty to Tigers after how much they stuck by him through the years – plus he must be one of Tigers highest paid players
— Alex Blackwell (@alexblackwell88) February 15, 2019
However, a lot of fans understand that it is his career at the end of the day, and it makes sense to go somewhere that can offer you security. Racing are one of the most free-spending clubs in Europe, and that would certainly have been on Tuilagi’s mind. Particularly, a long-term deal is good for a player that is very injury prone, and that may have been something that Leicester were not willing to give.
No pension scheme for pro rugby, he has a family to think about now. Fully support him and wish him the best of luck ??
— Jim Beary (@FarmerBeary) February 15, 2019
I feel like this is genuinely a 50/50 for both Leicester and Racing. On the one hand, he can be an absolute world beater as he's shown so far this year but on the other, I just don't know if I could justify paying him the wage he'll demand for such an injury prone player.
— Bo Jangles Gavigan (@JanglesGavigan) February 15, 2019
Regardless of the permutations of the potential move, many fans are also speculating how good Racing’s backline will be next season if the 27-year-old does move. With the likes of Finn Russell, Virimi Vakatawa, Simon Zebo, Juan Imhoff and Teddy Thomas already in Paris, Racing would surely have the most impressive backline in Europe next season with the added power of Tuilagi.
Imagine Tuilagi in that Racing 92 backline ?
— Graeme Douglas (@G_Douglas91) February 15, 2019
Racing signing Tuilagi would be huge. Fitness depending, he's up there with the best 13's in the world.
— John O'Sullivan (@NotoriousJOS) February 15, 2019
This potential move has also raised questions about the state of France’s entire system as well. In a week where the reputation of French rugby has been dragged through the mud after a huge loss to England at Twickenham, and Bernard Laporte saying the French system is at fault, this does not help the national team. Racing is one of their leading clubs and are counterproductively looking to bring players in from abroad rather than looking to the younger players coming through, which France certainly has.
He is an excellent player but what are the french clubs doing to the development of their own french national players. Their answer to that shambles last week is to buy one of the English players!
— Iain A Thomas (@iainathomas) February 15, 2019
every thing wrong with french rugby! , but they hey ho they know the best , there national team is fooked , and i laugh here in france with locals!! how crap they are!!
— david davies (@jujusimba7777) February 15, 2019
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.