Sales Sharks snares Manu Tuilagi
A son of Samoa from Fatausi and Fogapoa Savai'i, Manu Tuilagi, has just signed a lucrative new contract with Sale Sharks in the United Kingdom.
The youngest of the Tuilagi rugby boys who plays for England left Leicester Tigers, ending the family's long association with the club which saw older bothers Freddie, Henry, Alesana, Anitelea and Vavae wear green over the years.
Sale Sharks effort to secure one of the most sought after midfielders in the U.K. was something of a coup, given the interest on Manu Tuilagi's signature from other European clubs.
Sale's Director of Rugby, Steve Diamond, said they are looking forward to Tuilagi making his debut for them.
“We contacted Manu’s agent and Leicester Tigers last week to discuss the player’s current position," he said.
"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."
Diamond said Tuilagi will be a great asset for the club.
“The key is getting Manu into 15-16 games (per season) for Sale,” he said on a conference call.
“He hasn’t managed to do that over the years. The first thing is the care and detail, (learning to) understand his body over the next fortnight, knowing exactly what he needs, and then see when we utilize that.
“Initially he’s here for twelve months – that’s two campaigns, as I see it – and as we get to know each other we’ll have a chat about the future. Initially, it’s how we get this lad playing for us on a regular basis and playing for England on a regular basis.
"Then the big light at the tunnel is a Lions tour in twelve months’ time. It’s all about the daily training regime, not about numbers of matches played. It will be getting to know what works for him before we make a decision on where we push him and what direction we push him, in the training phase."
Tuilagi also released a farewell message to Leicester as he will be joining the Sale Sharks.
“I would like to take this opportunity to convey our thanks to everybody at Leicester Tigers for all their love and support for the past eleven years,” he said.
“I’m very grateful for all the support and friendship from the coaches and all the staff at the club, but even more so to the remarkable supporters who make the Tigers such a unique special club! It has been an enormous honor and privilege for me and my family to be part of the history of one of the greatest rugby clubs in the world. The Tigers have always been so special to me and my brothers for the past 20 years.
"I wish for nothing but the best for our Tigers family going forward. Everyone has their own pathway in life and I’m excited to see what the future holds,” he added.
He also acknowledged the Sales Shark management for his selection and he is looking forward in playing for the Sales Shark.
“I’m thankful to Steve Diamond and Sale Sharks for giving me this great opportunity and I’m looking forward to playing with some world-class players here. Leicester Tigers will always have a special place in the hearts of the Tuilagi family. With love and best wishes to all from Manu, Chantelle and Leilani.”