Confirmed exit of England midfielder Manu Tuilagi


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.

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.

spacer-new Confirmed exit of England midfielder Manu Tuilagi

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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.

“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.

“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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