Manu Tuilagi set to end England career with a move to France

Manu Tuilagi has played 60 Tests for England since his debut in 2011
Manu Tuilagi has played 60 Tests for England since his debut in 2011

England have been dealt another major blow as Sale Sharks centre Manu Tuilagi is set to end his international career with a move to France.

The 32-year-old was in demand among the French clubs including Montpellier and Perpignan but Bayonne is set to have secured his contract ahead of the 2024/25 season. It has been reported that Tuilagi underwent a medical test in Bayonne on Monday.

He made his England debut in a warm-up game against Wales leading to the 2011 Rugby World Cup and made his 60th appearance for the side in the recently concluded Six Nations game against France last weekend.

The move to Bayonne will effectively end his chances of representing England due to the Rugby Football Union's policy of not selecting players plying their trade overseas.

Ollie Lawrence's dominant display against France, where he scored two tries, indicates that England may have identified his successor as a powerful running center. However, Tuilagi's unparalleled physical presence ensures that he will always hold a distinct place that cannot be entirely filled by another player.

According to The Telegraph, Sale are aiming to replace Tuilagi with Fiji skipper Waisea Nayacalevu to ease out on the salary cap.

Bayonne are positioned ninth in the Top 14 table with eight wins from 18 matches.