Sale Sharks to sign Fiji captain as Manu Tuilagi replacement

Waisea Nayacalevu - Sale to sign Fiji captain as Manu Tuilagi replacement
Waisea Nayacalevu has been regularly pushing his claim as the best outside centre in the world - Getty Images/Olivier Chassignole

Sale Sharks are in talks to sign Fiji captain Waisea Nayacalevu to replace Manu Tuilagi at the club next season.

Telegraph Sport revealed earlier this week that Tuilagi is set to leave Sale in the summer, with the club currently unable to cover his wages under the salary cap.

Tuilagi’s next club is currently unknown but a move overseas at this late stage of his career is a possibility, with Tuilagi now 32.

He has been part of England’s Six Nations squad since recovering from a groin injury ahead of the game against Scotland, but did not play in their last two Test matches and last featured for Steve Borthwick’s side in the Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat to South Africa.

Nayacalevu is understood to have been offered a one-year deal with an option for a further season at the club, joining on a lower salary than Sale would have needed to pay Tuilagi.

The 33-year-old was one of Fiji’s best players during an impressive Rugby World Cup campaign last year, with his team reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since 2007 after defeating Australia in the pool stages.

He also played a key role in Fiji’s first-ever win over England during last year’s Rugby World Cup warm-ups, speaking passionately afterwards about the need for his side to face more top-tier opposition on a recent basis.

Nayacalevu has spent the last two years with Toulon but previously was with Stade Français for a decade, making 200 appearances for the club.

Reports earlier this year linked Nayacalevu with Montpellier but his future now seems to be in the north of England with Alex Sanderson’s side, where Nayacalevu’s experience can help in particular with the development of Rekeiti Ma’asi-White, the young centre who has played for England Under-20 and was previously with Wasps.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.