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Manu Tuilagi signs new deal with Sale as Courtney Lawes extends Northampton contract

England head coach Steve Borthwick receives double boost as Manu Tuilagi and Courtney Lawes sign contract extensions with Sale and Northampton respectively; both will hope to feature in England's World Cup squad this autumn

Image: Manu Tuilagi has agreed a new contract with Sale Sharks

Manu Tuilagi will be available for England selection after the World Cup after it was announced he has signed a new one-year contract with Sale.

Tuilagi has ended speculation that he could join the exodus of Red Rose stars heading for the Top 14 in France by extending his stay at the Sharks, the club he joined from Leicester in 2020.

The news that he will remain in the Gallagher Premiership has been confirmed on the same day that Courtney Lawes committed his future to Northampton, giving England head coach Steve Borthwick a double boost.

A Rugby Football Union rule means that players based overseas are unavailable for international selection.

Manu Tuilagi
Image: Manu Tuilagi has played 51 times for England

Tuilagi's time in Manchester has been marred by significant hamstring and Achilles injuries, but the powerful centre of Samoan origin remains an influential figure at Sale.

"My family and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to stay up north for another year," Tuilagi said. "It was an easy decision. I love coming to work every day and I couldn't ask for a better environment on and off the pitch.

"We're so tight as a group, which is why I think we've had such a good run this season. There couldn't be a better time to be a Shark."

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Tuilagi won his 51st cap during the recent Six Nations and has also made a Test appearance for the Lions in 2013.

"This deal says so much about this club and what we're building, but it says more about Manu the man," Sale boss Alex Sanderson said. "It says so much about what really matters to him and that's rare in professional sports people.

"Manu is really happy here but I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision to stay. For us and for Manu and his family, I think it's the right decision. Manu has been part of winning squads with Leicester and England and this environment is the one he seems to be enjoying and thriving in the most."

Lawes on new Northampton deal: 'I wanted to stay'

Lawes has signed a new contract at Northampton, despite an injury-hit season limiting his opportunities for club and leaving him out of Test consideration since captaining England during the 2022 summer tour to Australia.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 16: Courtney Lawes of England and teammates celebrate victory with the Ella-Mobbs Cup during the rugby international test match between Australia Wallabies and England at The Sydney Cricket Ground on July 16, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Steven Markham/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Image: Could Courtney Lawes make a return to the England fold later this year?

Saints have not specified the length of deal, but it is understood to run until the end of next season. He will now prolong his stay at Franklin's Gardens, having first featured for Northampton in 2007 and gone on to make 263 appearances.

"The club means a lot to me personally, and I wanted to stay here," Lawes said. "I especially didn't want to leave at the end of a season where I have not played much, and I have not made as big a contribution as I would have wanted.

"It wouldn't have felt right to me to leave now, so I was really keen to continue at Saints for that reason, but also because it's so important for us as a squad to continue to build on what we've done over the last few seasons."

Lawes made his England debut 14 years ago and also toured twice with the British and Irish Lions - to New Zealand in 2017 and South Africa four years later - making five Test appearances.

Northampton rugby director Phil Dowson added: "Courtney is an incredible player - one of the very best in the world, whether he is playing in the second row or at flanker. His international experience with England and the Lions is almost unparalleled, but off the field he gives our group so much in terms of confidence and leadership.

"I am sure a lot of clubs over in France and Japan would have been keen to see Courtney turn out for them for the next few years. I know our supporters will be thrilled that he has decided to stay in Northampton and remain a one-club man, as he's one of the best to have ever worn the black, green and gold."

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