Tuilagi brothers eye Super Rugby move
September 26, 2011
Manu Tuilagi could one day showcase his talent in Super Rugby © Getty Images
The Samoan-born Tuilagi brothers who are currently lighting up the World Cup with their spectacular form have been linked with a move to Super Rugby.
Their agent - brother Fereti 'Freddie' Tuilagi - confirmed that the pair - Manu and Alesana - entertain the idea of one day having the chance to showcase their talent in the southern hemisphere's premier tournament. Manu Tuilagi has started his international career in brilliant fashion running in four tries in five Test appearances while Alesana played a key part in Samoa's historic win against the Wallabies pre-World Cup and crossed for a hat-trick in their opening clash of the 2011 global gathering against Namibia.
And with the likes of England flanker James Haskell looking to follow in the footsteps of Danny Cipriani and in playing for one of the 15 Super Rugby franchises, Freddie Tuilagi confirmed that the pair have already begun talking to clubs about a possible switch from the Aviva Premiership to the southern hemisphere.
"I know Alesana and Manu would be very interested to experience Super 15 rugby," Freddie told Sunday News. "We're already talking to a few people. I've got some mates here in Auckland, guys like [Blues coach] Pat Lam. If the opportunity arises this is something we'd definitely consider.
"For Alesana, he's settled in Leicester and has a young family there. He's happy where he is at the moment but, if the opportunity arises in the next 12 months, things change. In Manu's situation, he's more likely to come over [to New Zealand]. In the future he wants to explore different options and experience Super 15. Those options are there."
However, with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) declaring that post-World Cup only players plying their trade in England will be considered for international recognition - the decision to move south would effectively put a hold on Manu Tuilagi's immediate international career. Having only just broken onto the scene, any offer from a Super Rugby franchise would pose the 20-year-old with a big dilemma - a notion which Freddie admits could be solved by his brother's position in England's pecking order.
"That's the sort of stuff you've got to take into consideration, but things change," Freddie Tuilagi said. "Maybe 12 months down the line he [Manu] won't be picked by England and there would be an opportunity here.
"If he wanted to test himself against some of the best players in the world, Super 15 is up there. We've got a lot of relatives here from my mother's side. And he would be closer to Samoa as well."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin