England centre Manu Tuilagi has ended speculation about his future by signing a new deal with Leicester.
Tuilagi’s previous contract with the Tigers was due to expire in the summer and he was in discussions with French club Racing 92 over a lucrative switch to the Top 14.
Such a move would have potentially made him unavailable for this autumn’s World Cup due to Twickenham’s edict on ignoring players based overseas.
But Tuilagi ensured that is now a moot point after deciding to remain with the Premiership club, where he started his career in 2010.
The 27-year-old said on Leicester’s official website: “This is a massive club and it means a lot to me and my family.
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“I love the club and I want to repay the loyalty they have shown me in my time here. We are all behind Geordan Murphy and his ambitions for the team, and I’m very passionate about playing my part in bringing back the success we all expect at such a massive club.
“This was a big decision for me to make but I am very happy to be able to stay here. I have a lot of friends here, my family is happy here and the club means a lot to me.”
Tuilagi, capped 31 times by England and part of the 2013 British and Irish Lions side that overcame Australia, has bagged 40 tries in 95 appearances for Leicester.
Leicester head coach Geordan Murphy recognised the coup his club had achieved in managing to successfully convince Tuilagi to remain at Welford Road.
Murphy said: “Manu is a world-class player with a real X-factor about his game and anyone would want him in their team. He’s been here a long time, his heart is here and we’re all delighted that he wants to stay with the club.
“He is at his physical peak as a player at 27, he is a leader within the squad and we look forward to seeing many more big performances from him in a Tigers shirt.”
Leicester chairman Peter Tom believes Tuilagi has committed to Murphy’s ambitions for the club.
Tom said: “It’s great news for everybody at the club that Manu is staying. He is a world-class player who came through our academy to make his name in professional rugby and now on the world stage.
“He was very keen to stay and wants to play his part in what Geordan is building for the future.
“We appreciate that Manu can attract offers from elsewhere in the rugby world – who wouldn’t want him in their team? – but we also know the love and the passion he has for the Tigers after nearly 10 years in the team.”News Now - Sport News