Manu Tuilagi saves his England career by signing for Sale Sharks after departing Leicester Tigers
- Manu Tuilagi left Leicester Tigers after failing to agree a wage cut with the club
- The 29-year-old centre has won 43 caps for England since his debut in 2011
- Steve Diamond says the signing is ‘a fantastic commercial and playing addition’
Manu Tuilagi has signed for Sale Sharks having left Leicester Tigers, saving his England career.
The 29-year-old Samoan-born centre did not agree to take a wage cut at Welford Road so was released from the only top-flight club he has played for – and now he has been snapped up by Steve Diamond’s Sale.
He has committed to a deal up to the end of next season and is linking up with his new team-mates at Carrington on Monday.
Manu Tuilagi has signed for Sale Sharks having left Leicester Tigers – saving his England career
The transfer is a major coup for the Sharks, who sit second in the Premiership and will gun for their first title since 2006 when rugby resumes on August 14.
Tuilagi could now take the field in the first league game back – away to Harlequins on that Friday night next month.
He will join a strong squad that includes England flanker Tom Curry and South African World Cup winners Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager.
Crucially moving to Manchester means Tuilagi will still be eligible for England and will now aim to make the 2021 Lions tour to South Africa.
He has so far won England 43 caps since making his debut in 2011, but would have been ruled out from selection if he had moved abroad.
Previously – due to the coronavirus pandemic – there was an understanding that Premiership clubs would not poach each other’s players in the aftermath of pay-cuts.
But as Tuilagi could not agree a deal at Leicester, and was therefore let go, Sale swooped.
Diamond said: ‘We contacted Manu’s agent and Leicester Tigers last week to discuss the player’s contract position.
‘After discussions on Friday, all parties – Leicester Tigers, Manu Tuilagi and Sale Sharks – agreed that the player was a free agent and was able to enter into negotiations with another club.
‘Manu will be a fantastic commercial and playing addition to our squad and I am looking forward to seeing him join up with the lads at Carrington this week.’