Manu Tuilagi’s lack of certainty at club level has thrown his international future into doubt with England’s governing body unwilling to change their stance on overseas-based players.
Tuilagi’s future has been the subject of much speculation since the confirmation that his time with the Leicester Tigers was up. While local clubs remain in the mix to sign him, the current financial climate in the Premiership could yet persuade the 29-year-old to take up a contract abroad.
The exclusion of foreign-based players has been in effect since the 2011 World Cup and only ‘exceptional circumstances’ such as an injury crisis would allow the RFU to pick beyond their borders.
Leicester have taken steps to mitigate as much as £5 million lost in revenue during rugby’s spell on the sidelines. While Tuilagi shrugged off a move to France earlier in the year, he did not sign a revised contract and failed to recommit to the Tigers along with five other first-team players.
His exit ends a two-decade relationship between his family and the club.
Tuilagi was key to his country’s resurgence last year under Eddie Jones that had England shock New Zealand in the semi-finals of the World Cup.
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