Last Updated: 08/07/20 5:45pm
Ben Youngs does not believe the Rugby Football Union (RFU) should change its eligibility rules to prolong his England team-mate Manu Tuilagi’s international career.
Samoa-born centre Tuilagi has been stood down by Leicester after refusing to take a pay cut by signing a revised contract.
If his next move is away from the Premiership and overseas, it will make Tuilagi ineligible for Eddie Jones’ England side. Currently the RFU only selects players based outside of England in ‘exceptional circumstances’.
“I know as an England player that if I sign [a contract abroad], I’m walking away from the possibility of playing for England,” Youngs told Sky Sports News.
“Every player knows the rule and the repercussions of it. No one will ever make a decision without really considering it.
“For me, I think the rule is a good rule. It’s important you get the best players playing in England. And if you decide to go abroad you know that you leave that behind.”
Youngs, though, does not feel let down by Tuilagi’s decision.
“Absolutely not. He’s given his career to Leicester. His family have created a dynasty here,” Youngs said.
“There comes a time in anyone’s career when you need to change it up. Manu has been an amazing servant to Leicester along with his brothers.”
Unlike Tuilagi, Youngs – along with fellow England players George Ford and Ellis Genge – has signed a “long-term” contract to remain with the Tigers.
The England scrum-half, now capped 99 times, says it was a straightforward decision.
“You only have to flick on the news for five minutes to realise the damage of the pandemic – and what it has done,” Youngs said.
“I’m in a good financial position, so when the 25 per cent pay cut came, it wasn’t too hard a decision.
“I understood the circumstances and knew I wanted to be a part of the club moving forward. It’s work at the end of the day. It’s not going to set me up for life. So I just wanted to do what I could to make sure the club survived. “