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'Why wouldn't you want to keep Manu? You would be crazy not to make a bid for him'

By Chris Jones
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Alex Sanderson believes it would be crazy if Sale didn’t try to persuade Manu Tuilagi to ignore big money offers elsewhere and remain with the Gallagher Premiership outfit that is overseeing his return from serious injury.


New Sale boss Sanderson is dealing with the demands of the Premiership salary cap for the first time in his rugby life, something which his former club Saracens failed to do adequately and it caused their automatic relegation to the Championship.

Juggling so many big names and remaining within the now reduced salary cap is an aspect of the director of rugby job Sanderson is not enjoying but he recognises the importance it has for a club that have big ambitions, starting with Sunday’s Heineken Champions Cup round of 16 game at Scarlets.

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Keeping Tuilagi would be a major statement by Sale and Sanderson is doing his best to convince the powerful England midfielder to stay put following his move last July from Leicester.

Sanderson said: “Manu is one of the world’s best players. He has had a lot of offers and the question is, can we match them? We will have to wait and see. We would love him to stay here. Why wouldn’t you want to keep Manu? You would be crazy not to make a bid for him.

“I was never part of the salary cap (at Saracens) and I’m still learning. It is coming down so it is not just what you can afford now, it is about two or three years’ time and fitting the pieces of the jigsaw together. It is not a case of is he [Tuilagi] worth the money? It’s a difficult jigsaw to put together but it is looking rosy at the moment.


“He is about four weeks away from being back (playing) and is on the field with me keeping an eye on training. That means he is getting more game-involved. We are the forgotten team at Sale and we don’t mind that. I got a golden ticket like Willy Wonka to be in the Heineken Cup and are going to Wales with a purpose like everyone else who wants to get through.

“We have some big-game players and they know the necessity to step it up in intensity and physicality. I would like to think we have a squad to rival the 2006 Sale team that won the Premiership title and while I’m not using what happened to the club last year as a motivation, the players are.”


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