Foreign club switch would rule Tuilagi out of England selection, says RFU
England centre Manu Tuilagi cannot represent the national team if he joins a foreign club after his departure from Leicester Tigers, with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) saying it has no plans to alter its selection policy.
The 29-year-old left Premiership side Leicester after opting not to sign a revised contract on reduced terms in line with the league's revised salary cap regulations and has been linked by the media with a move to both English and overseas teams.
However, a switch to a team outside the country would mean he is ineligible to be picked for England under the RFU's selection rules, adopted since after the 2011 World Cup.
"Players who are not based in England will not be selected to play for England," an RFU spokeswoman told Reuters. "There are no plans to change this regulation."
Tuilagi has played 43 tests for England since making his debut in 2011 and was a member of the team that finished runners-up at the World Cup in Japan last year.
He was one of several players to depart Leicester, alongside Kyle Eastmond, Telusa Veainu, Greg Batemen and Noel Reid, club CEO Andrea Pinchen confirmed on Thursday.
English clubs voted last month to cut the salary cap from the 2021-22 season until 2023-2024, with the ceiling for senior players set at £5 million ($6.24 million), down from £6.4 million, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Players were offered long-term deals on reduced terms with clubs looking to exploit a provision for only 75% of the wages of a contracted player to count towards the revised cap.