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Wasps react to speculation linking them with a move for Manu Tuilagi

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dave Rogers/Getty Images)

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Wasps boss Lee Blackett has laughed off speculation that his club are in the running to recruit Manu Tuilagi from Sale at the end of this season. The England midfielder has been sidelined with an Achilles injury since last September and is due to make a comeback in early May.


The 29-year-old came to Sale during the first UK lockdown, having refused to agree on a salary cut at Leicester, and during the week following his injury, Steve Diamond described Tuilagi’s burgeoning relationship with Sharks and whether he might stay on beyond a single year.

It’s a whirlwind romance at the minute. He’s a great lad. He loves it. He’s passionate. 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 are in no rush to sit down and sort something out. He is cool with that, he’s happy. If we can come up with the numbers I think he would be delighted to stay with us.”

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Johnny Sexton looks ahead to the Ireland versus England Six Nations finale
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Johnny Sexton looks ahead to the Ireland versus England Six Nations finale

The dynamic at Sale has since changed with Diamond quitting as director of rugby and being succeeded by Alex Sanderson as director of rugby. With just months now remaining on his current deal, what happens next with Tuilagi is understandably generating speculation.

However, it doesn’t sound like he will be going to Wasps any time soon judging by the reaction from Blackett at his club’s weekly media conference when it was put to him that Tuilagi was a rumoured recruit by the Coventry-based outfit for 2021/22.

“You know some of these rumours I do find funny because you find out you are rumoured with someone and that actually makes me realise they are available,” he said with a chuckle. “I have seen rumours this season. There was one player that got rumoured to us – and he’s not coming by the way – and Kev (Harman), who heads up the recruitment, I rang him straight away and I said, ‘Mate, I didn’t even know this guy was available, just find out if he is available, will you?’


“Sometimes these rumours are put out by agents trying to get more money but we don’t have that much,” he continued, before adding tongue in cheek regarding Tuilagi: “Will he come for very little, will he come for an academy wage?”


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