Sale have signed Waisea Nayacalevu for next season to take over Tuilagi's position

Manu Tuilagi has reportedly signed for Bayonne in a two-year deal which will rule him out of England contention.

The Sale Sharks player is set to leave the Premiership club at the end of the season and join the French outfit. Multiple publications say the deal is all but done, a medical does need to take place.

Read more: England top try-scorer

Tuilagi played for England in their final match of the 2024 Six Nations. It was his 60th cap and if he has signed for the French club it will be his last for a while. Rugby Football Union rules state a player must play their club rugby in England in order to be available for international selection.

Tuilagi himself has not confirmed the club move or said if he will be retiring from international duty. He did face the media last week before England took on France but he avoided questions on his future.

“For me representing England and getting opportunity is a blessing and I can’t wait,” he said. “Every time I get to represent England it could be the last game.

“Every game could be your last game, so you have got to make the most of it and enjoy it.”

Tuilagi will join numerous other England players moving abroad if his deal is confirmed. David Ribbans, Jack Nowell and  Jack Willis are among those playing in France.

Tuilagi will be missed as a centre option but Ollie Lawrence is also making the number 12 shirt his own. He scored two tries against France in a game which saw England’s opponents beat them with a late penalty.

Overall England’s campaign was more positive than in 2023. They finished third after beating Ireland, Wales and Italy.

Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Follow Rugby World on FacebookInstagram and Twitter/X.