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.
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.”
“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.”