'We give him baguettes'
SIX NATIONS SPOTLIGHT: Manu Tuilagi has found himself on the receiving end of jokes about baguettes and croissants from England coach Eddie Jones amid reports the Leicester centre is set to pursue a club career in France.
British media have said the powerhouse Leicester centre has been holding talks with Racing 92 about a move to the Paris-based side after the World Cup in Japan later this year.
Playing in France’s Top 14 could spell the end of the 27-year-old Tuilagi’s international career given England’s refusal to select overseas-based players.
But with Leicester unlikely to be able to match the wages on offer from Racing, the dynamic Tuilagi – in England’s side for their crunch Six Nations clash away to Wales on Saturday – could make sure of his financial future by playing in the Top 14.
“We just have fun about it,” said Jones. “Give him baguettes, croissants, wear berets. Good fun.
“As long as he doesn’t get on the Eurostar between now and Saturday I’ve got no comment on it because all I’m worried about is Saturday.”
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On a more serious note, the Australian added: “I don’t decide what he does for his family. Every player has a family situation they have got to look after and I want them to look after their families.”
The former Australia and Japan coach insisted: “He is in our family at the moment and we want him to play well for us – that is our only concern right now.
“He’s got to make a decision and what decision he makes will be up to him. He’s a massively important part of our team. The guys like playing with him, they love him.”
England captain Owen Farrell underlined Tuilagi’s worth to the side by saying: “Manu’s someone you look at before you go out for a game and see that big massive smile on his face knowing he’s going to be unbelievably physical.”