With Sonny Bill Williams now formally announced as a Toronto Wolfpack player for the next two seasons, we look at the many reasons why Manu Tuilagi joining Williams in Canada would work, and not just for Toronto.
First of all, Tuilagi would not make a dent in any salary cap space that the Wolfpack have remaining. This is because Manu would fall into the ‘New Talent Pool Dispensation’ category.
This means that any player who has not previously played Rugby League is given a value of £0 in the first year of his contract and at 50% of his true value in the second year.
So long as David Argyle can afford to pay Tuilagi what he wants to earn, they’re will be no financial reason why this deal can’t go through.
Secondly, this would be another big name choosing Rugby League over Union. Following Luther Burrell’s move to Warrington last season, plus Hull FC’s acquisition of Ratu Naulago, Tuilagi joining Sonny Bill at the Wolfpack would put bums on seats.
However, the people sitting on those seats will not just be flatcappers and rugby league traditionalists. There will be youngsters looking to watching just the two big names in action and more than likely fall in love with our beautiful game.
Another reason that Toronto signing Tuilagi would work is because Rugby League runs in the England international’s family.
Manu’s eldest brother Fereti, or Freddie, as he is sometimes known featured for Halifax and St Helens between 1995 and 2000, scoring 37 tries in 92 appearances, and will no doubt be relishing the thought of his not so little brother playing in Super League.
One major downfall to the move would be that Tuilagi has recently signed a new deal with Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership.
Tigers boss, Geordan Murphy has said is confident Tuilagi’s links to the club and area mean he will not be tempted to change his mind and switch codes.
The fact Manu has a young child and also much more family in the Leicester area means that the international centre is settled and unlikely to be going anywhere soon.
From Tuilagi’s point of view, there is the choice of attempting to play for the British and Irish Lions in their 2021 tour of South Africa, or featuring in the Rugby League World Cup on home soil.
As a fan of the Tuilagi brothers, I would sure like to see Manu play in the 13-a-side game.
For more Rugby Union players who would suit playing Rugby League, check out our Union XIII here.