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  • Manu Tuilagi signed a two-year deal with Bayonne  
  • The 32-year-old won his 60th cap for England in the loss to France on Sunday 
  • Tuilagi spent the last two seasons at Sale and previously played for Leicester

Bayonne have announced the signing of England centre Manu Tuilagi from Sale on a two-year contract.

The 32-year-old will join the French club at the end of the season in a move likely to bring an end to his Test career.

Rugby Football Union regulations dictate any player departing the Gallagher Premiership becomes ineligible for international selection.

A short statement on Bayonne’s website read: “England centre Manu Tuilagi has signed for the next two seasons. Welcome Manu!”

Tuilagi won his 60th – and likely final – England cap in Saturday’s 33-31 Guinness Six Nations defeat by France in Lyon.

Manu Tuilagi ends England career after signing two-year deal with Pro 14 club Bayonne… just days after wining his 60th and final cap in dramatic Six Nations loss to France

Manu Tuilagi has signed a two-year deal with Pro 14 club Bayonne 

The 32-year-old won his 60th and likely last England cap against France on Saturday (above)

The 32-year-old won his 60th and likely last England cap against France on Saturday (above)

Earlier on Tuesday, the former Leicester player outlined ambitions of helping Sale lift the Premiership title as he confirmed his decision to leave Alex Sanderson’s side.

‘I’ve absolutely loved my time at Sale,’ he told the club website. 

‘It was a really tough conversation with Al, and a tough decision for everyone because my family and I have been really happy here.

‘I never thought I’d leave Leicester and it was a big move, but since arriving here I’ve grown a lot as a person. I’ve developed as a player, but more so as a person.

‘The environment at Sale is amazing. It’s what makes me want to get out of bed and put the work in, and I genuinely love coming in every day.

‘If I’ve helped the young players then that’s great, but they’ve helped me so much too and I’m going to miss them all.

‘The mindset from the start of the season was to win the Premiership and that’s what we’re all focused on now. Knowing it’s my last season here will give me an extra push to make sure I leave on a high.’

Tuilagi has been an automatic pick in the midfield for four successive England coaches due to the power he provides on both sides of the ball.

However, his career has been heavily interrupted by a number of serious injuries, including groin, chest, hamstring, knee and a broken hand.

Sale currently sit seventh in the Premiership table.

Sharks director of rugby Sanderson said: ‘We talked about what was best for the club and what was best for Manu and his family, and we had to make a tough decision. But it’s still a wrench and really tough for me to accept that he’s going.

Tuilagi spent the last four years at Sale, but his  spell at the AJ Bell Stadium was interrupted by a series of injuries

Tuilagi spent the last four years at Sale, but his  spell at the AJ Bell Stadium was interrupted by a series of injuries 

Tuilagi was part of the England team that lost the 2019 World Cup final and finished third at the 2023 tournament (above) 

‘He is one of the world’s best players and one of the world’s best blokes. There are very few people who can do what he can on the field. 

‘As a player he’s every bit as good as I thought he was before I came here, but as a person he continues to surprise and inspire me to be better.

‘We’ll miss him massively on the field, but the void he leaves off it will be harder to fill.

‘His smile is the same whether he’s running on to the field ready to smash someone, or sitting opposite you having a glass of wine, and I’m really going to miss that.’

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