The fraught Tuilagi split: Ben Youngs on why Leicester U-turn would be 'a little crazy'

England scrum-half Ben Youngs has confirmed that Manu Tuilagi has played his last game for Leicester after the midfielder last week refused to accept a pay cut to continue his career at Welford Road.

Youngs, who signed an extended contract of his own at the Gallagher Premiership club on Wednesday, admitted it would be “a little crazy” if Tuilagi was to somehow announce a U-turn on his quit decision.

This news will be a bitter blow to Tigers fans who have seen five players opt to leave rather than accept a pay cut. Also joining Tuilagi in exiting Leicester were Kyle Eastmond, Greg Bateman, Noel Reid and Telusa Veainu, who has since signed a three-year deal at Stade Francais.

Youngs, who is on 99 England caps, described his international teammate as “an unbelievable, exceptional talent and wrecking ball carrier” but he is resigned to not having the centre’s special skills available to a Leicester squad now under the control of Steve Borthwick, their new head coach.

The scrum-half said: “You don’t make those decisions unless you really weigh it up and to suddenly go full circle in a week’s time seems a little crazy. I don’t see that happening. We had a deadline and I would be very surprised if that was the case.

“It will be different if we play against Manu. Me and George (Ford) will be expecting some runs down our channels. Players move and people do go elsewhere. I have trained against him enough times but I don’t know where he is looking to go. If he goes to another Premiership club there is a strong chance we will meet him twice a year.

“Do I feel let down by Manu? Absolutely not. He has given a huge career to Leicester and his family has been a dynasty. There comes a time in anyone’s career when you change it up. 

“Manu has been an amazing servant to Leicester along with all of his brothers, and he now has an opportunity to go somewhere else. I don’t feel any disappointment and the club will look to strengthen in those positions.

“Manu is a father and he has to do what is best for him and his family. From my point of view, I speak to him as a mate and everyone knew the repercussion. If you didn’t agree to it there was a good chance you would be stood down and that happened. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been a decision made lightly by those guys.”