England powerhouse Manu Tuilagi is set to quit international rugby following the conclusion of the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour.
The 29-year-old, who joined Sale Sharks following his dramatic exit from Leicester Tigers, is being lined up to join Racing 92 in the TOP14 ahead of the 2020/21 season.
Tuilagi had a tour of their training ground in 2019, but ultimately stayed at Leicester Tigers to continue his international career.
They previously opened negotiations with an offer of £2.5m over three seasons.
And, according to reports in France, the centre is now keen to make that move as the Parisians have indicated that they remain willing to offer him a big-money contract.
Elsewhere, The Rugby Paper has already reported that Sale Sharks are interested in France international Virimi Vakatawa as a replacement if Tuilagi doesn’t renew his contract.
He made his international debut a year later for England, and currently has 43 test appearances to his name, which includes a cap for the British and Irish Lions against Australia in 2013.
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LIST | 5 England players who could swap nations for 2023 World Cup
Sir Bill Beaumont has hit back in the World Rugby election race and revealed he wants to create a law change that would allow Manu Tuilagi and other England stars to end their Test career playing for other nations.
The former England captain raised the possibility in his re-election manifesto ahead of next month’s contest with former Argentina scrum-half Agustin Pichot.
In it he promises a review of Regulation 8 which covers eligibility to play for national teams “to see how we can support the longevity of players’ international careers”.
Based on this, we’ve looked at some other current England stars who could head to the 2023 Rugby World Cup to represent other nations.
We’ve not included Billy Vunipola, as we think he is likely to be still in the reckoning for England in three years time.
1. Manu Tuilagi (Samoa)
- Current number of caps: 41
- Age at the start of RWC 2023: 32
- Did you know: He was named Manusamoa, after the name of the Samoan national team
The England centre, who was born in Fogapoa and came to the UK at the age of 13, is one of a clutch of Pacific Island players whose eligibility status could change if the restrictions are relaxed. He is the younger brother of Freddie, Henry, Alesana, Anitelea and Sanele Vavae Tuilagi, all of whom are Samoan internationals and also played for Leicester. It would be fantastic for the powerhouse to complete the set.