Manu Tuilagi’s decision is for him and his family, says Ben Te’o
Ben Te’o reflects on Manu Tuilagi’s possible move from Leicester to Racing 92 by declaring “it’s a business”.
Tuilagi will make a decision on whether to accept the lucrative offer to play in the Top 14 –thereby making him unavailable for England selection – after the Guinness Six Nations.
The Lions centre has admitted being torn by the dilemma of turning his back on international rugby and the only club he has played for in order to accept a three-season deal worth in the region of £2.5m.
Dual code international Te’o, who has spent club union spells at Leinster and Worcester, insists finances are key to any decision made.
“Manu has to do what’s best for him. We’ve all got decisions to make in this game. You’ve got to secure your family. It’s a business, you know,” Te’o said.
“It’s his decision – for him and his family. I don’t really have any advice for him, he has to make up his own mind and I’m sure he will.”
Te’o’s contract at Worcester expires at the end of the season and the 32-year-old has yet to decide what his future holds.
“I said to myself that I’d come to the Six Nations and enjoy it, enjoy the experience,” Te’o said
“Try to win it and after that I can focus on what happens. There are only two weeks left to go and then I can start planning.”
Te’o is the son of a Samoan father and having played for Samoa as a rugby league international is opposed to the proposal for the creation of a World League that would exclude the Pacific Islands.
The global tournament that is the brainchild of World Rugby has been criticised for favouring richer nations at the expense of the likes of Samoa, Fiji and Georgia. “The Island nations are rugby nations that give a lot to the game, in the past and in the present,” Te’o said. “Financially they are unions who need a lot of help. Coming from rugby league the biggest thing about union is that it’s a global game.
“That’s it’s real selling point and where it has the advantage. You have to look after the smaller nations.”
Te’o would have started the 32-20 victory over Ireland on February 2 but for a side strain and he has watched from the sidelines since due to Manu Tuilagi taking his chance at inside centre.
“I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating because you have to come to terms with these things. I was happy to see the boys on fire in Dublin and really rip into France,” Te’o said.
“It’s unfortunate when you miss out, but you have to think about the team and the squad.
“I was just so happy it went well and to see Manu back firing after a few tough years for him.
“Maybe we’ll get the chance to play together one time.”
Maro Itoje’s involvement in England’s Six Nations clash with Italy has been placed into doubt after he hobbled out of training on yesteray with a knee injury.
Bath’s Charlie Ewels has been called up as second row injury cover in a 27-man training squad selected to step-up preparations for Saturday’s visit of the Azzurri.
Jack Nowell could also miss out due to a stinger sustained against Wales, resulting in uncapped wing Ollie Thorley being retained among the 27.
Itoje was on course to make his comeback from the ligament damage sustained against Ireland on February 2, but the setback to the same knee has now cast a shadow over that prospect. He was performing a forwards drill. in front of Eddie Jones, but upon being hurt he fell to the floor in obvious pain and limped off.