Steve Borthwick not giving up hope of Manu Tuilagi continuing England career

Undecided: Manu Tuilagi (REUTERS)
Undecided: Manu Tuilagi (REUTERS)

Steve Borthwick has refused to give up on Manu Tuilagi committing his future to English rugby.

Tuilagi is close to making a summer move abroad, with Montpellier and Bayonne battling it out for his signature.

The 32-year-old could be primed for his 60th and final England cap in Saturday’s Six Nations finale against France, having been named on the bench.

Tuilagi made his England debut in 2011 and remains a powerful global force, but injuries have still ravaged his impressive career.

The Samoa-born wrecking ball would already boast 156 caps had he managed to play every Test across the course of his time in England colours.

England boss Borthwick insisted Tuilagi is yet to make any final decision on his future, and revealed his desire to see the centre stay on home soil.

England do not select overseas-based players, so if Tuilagi heads abroad his Test career will effectively end, given his age and continued injury profile. Borthwick however still hopes that will not happen.

"I’m hopeful that he’ll be staying in England, there’s no plans confirmed as yet to my understanding," said Borthwick.

"But I’m hopeful he will stay in England. Manu adds huge amounts to this squad, he’s a player who impacts upon people and he impacts upon games, and I’m looking forward to seeing him impact upon this game on Saturday night."

Asked if he would try to convince Tuilagi to stay in England, Borthwick continued: "Well, ultimately that’s up to Manu and the opportunities that present themselves within England and his representatives.

"From my point of view, he knows I would want him to be in England, I want all our best players playing in England. His training and his work ethic and what he delivers on the field is always excellent.

"What I see in Manu , he’s a brilliant influence on the young players, we’ve got a number of young players in this squad and he takes the time and the care with them to help them, and passes his knowledge on.

"He’s socially robust within the group, he’s brilliant at bringing people together. He's the one at the coffee machine standing making coffee for everyone to sit, to sit and chat, to sit and spend time with each other, he brings people together."