Eddie Jones has expressed delight at Manu Tuilagi's decision to stay in England and is not concerned that Owen Farrell will be playing in the Championship next season.

Tuilagi this week joined Sale Sharks on a deal until the end of next season after failing to agree terms to remain with Leicester Tigers.

The British and Irish Lion was linked with a move to France or a code swap, options which would have ended his England career.

Jones says the 29-year-old's switch to Sale is great news for the Rugby World Cup runners-up.

The England head coach said: "Manu made up his mind what he was going to do. We had a couple of phone calls, we kept in contact the whole time.

"I gave him a small piece of advice, but he knew what he wanted to do. He's a valuable Test player, his performance in the World Cup and Six Nations indicated there is still more in him and I'm delighted by his decision.

"It's obviously a difficult time for everyone at the moment and we are glad he's made that decision."

Farrell will not be on the move after committing his long-term future to Saracens, who are heading for the second tier due to persistent salary-cap breaches.

It was also revealed that Mako Vunipola, Elliot Daly and Jamie George will stay with Sarries this week and Jones says the European champions’ England contingent will be picked if they are performing well enough.

He said: "I'll be comfortable [picking Saracens players] if they're in good form. Players who have a track record of Test match success, I'll have a pretty good idea of where they are and where they need to be.

"My understanding is most of the younger guys at Saracens are moving to other clubs so they will not have the same issues that the older players have. 

"Without sounding too grandiose, if I look at Owen Farrell it doesn't matter what game he plays I've got a pretty good understanding of where he needs to be."

Owen Farrell has committed his long-term future to Saracens, signing a new deal with the Championship-bound club.

The England captain has been a pivotal part of Sarries' success since coming through the academy, helping them become a dominant force in the Premiership as well as enjoying success in Europe.

However, the three-time Champions Cup winners will be dropping into the second tier for 2020-21 after being punished for breaching salary-cap regulations.

Farrell is the latest big name to confirm he will be staying despite relegation, following on from England team-mates Elliot Daly, Mako Vunipola and Jamie George.

"The club means a lot to me," said Farrell, who toured with the British and Irish Lions in 2013 and 2017. "I've been here a long, long time now and to be sorted going forward is brilliant.

"Most of the senior players are in a similar position. They'd do anything to put us in the best position possible and that was telling during the tough times this year and I'm sure that will be the case going forward as well."

Director of rugby Mark McCall praised Farrell - who made his debut for Saracens in 2008 - for his "relentless" drive. No terms of the deal were disclosed.

"Owen has grown up at Saracens; from a teenager in our academy to a central figure in English rugby," McCall said.

"His drive to improve is relentless, pushing everyone in the organisation – players and staff – to be better every day. Quite simply, Saracens would not be the club it is without Owen.

"Off the field he is a grounded family man, who cares deeply about the club and the people here.

"We are delighted he has committed his long-term future to Saracens."

Elliot Daly is the latest England international to commit his future to Championship-bound Saracens.

Sarries announced on Wednesday that Daly has signed a new three-year contract with the Premiership and European champions, running until 2023.

The 27-year-old utility back joined the London club from Wasps last year and will be staying on despite Sarries' relegation from the Premiership following points deductions for persistently breaching salary-cap regulations.

British and Irish Lion Daly joins the likes of Mako Vunipola and Jamie George in deciding to remain at Allianz Park.

Daly said: "I haven't been here that long but I really feel part of the Saracens family, so it was an easy decision.

"I'm looking forward to the next three years. Hopefully we can do some special things."

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said: "We are thrilled that Elliot has committed his future to the club.

"He has been a pleasure to work with in his short time with us and there is no doubt that he will have a significant role to play in the exciting years that lie ahead.

"Despite his many achievements on the field Elliot remains incredibly modest and is highly respected within the group."

The British and Irish Lions' tour to South Africa will go ahead as scheduled in 2021. 

There were concerns the impact of the coronavirus pandemic could cause a postponement to the trip, but the original dates for all eight fixtures have now been confirmed. 

The Lions will take on the reigning world champions in a three-Test series, with those games against the Springboks taking place in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Gauteng.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of disruption to the sporting calendar, but after extensive discussions we are now able to confirm that the Tour dates are as previously announced," said Ben Calveley, managing director of the Lions. 

"An enormous amount of planning, especially from a logistical perspective, goes into putting on a Lions series, so it was crucial that a decision was agreed upon in good time."

Sale Sharks have pulled off a major coup by signing England centre Manu Tuilagi.

Tuilagi, 29, had been linked with a move to France or a code switch to rugby league after failing to agree terms to extend his stay with Leicester Tigers.

The British and Irish Lion will be eligible to continue his England career, though, after joining Sale on a deal until the end of the 2020-21 season.

Tuilagi could end the 2019-20 campaign as a Premiership champion, with the Sharks second in the table as they prepare to return to action on August 14, more than five months since the coronavirus crisis brought the season to a halt.

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond said: "We contacted Manu's agent and Leicester Tigers last week to discuss the player's current position.

"After discussions on Friday, all parties – Leicester Tigers, Manu Tuilagi and Sale Sharks – agreed that the player was a free agent and was able to enter into negotiations with another club.

"Manu will be a fantastic commercial and playing addition to our squad and I am looking forward to seeing him join up with the lads at Carrington this week."

Tuilagi's brother, Andy, spent three seasons with Sale from 2008 to 2011.

Steve Hansen says New Zealand Rugby owes Australian counterparts nothing and urged officials to be strong in talks over the future of Super Rugby.

NZ Rugby commissioned the Aratipu review to look into the Super Rugby model and put plans in place to rebuild finances after being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

There has been talk of reducing the number of Australian teams in a new-look trans-Tasman competition.

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan this week compared the relationship between his governing body and NZ Rugby to a "master-servant" dynamic.

Former All Blacks head coach Hansen has urged NZ Rugby to stand firm when negotiations take place.

"Without being controversial, we have been looking after the Aussies for years," Hansen told Stuff Media.

"And every time we have required something from them, particularly at a high level, sometimes they have gone missing.

"Do we owe them something? No. But because we are the nation we are, and we care about the game more than just ourselves, we bend and buckle a bit.’"

He added: "I think NZ Rugby are in the mood for having strong discussions … because they only get one shot at it."

Hansen does not believe it would be a wise move to have more New Zealand teams in a Super Rugby competition and feels less travel can be a benefit for players.

"You don't want to be diluting the talent pool. And then you have to ask, 'Do we want our athletes travelling all around the world as much as they have been?'.

"If the answer is 'no', you look internally into New Zealand or maybe Australia [for a structure of the tournament) because it's not far away."

The Hurricanes made it back-to-back wins in Super Rugby Aotearoa with a 17-11 victory over the Highlanders on Sunday.

A dominant start in Wellington helped set up the Hurricanes' win as they scored the first 17 points of the game.

The Hurricanes moved into third on the table with two wins from four games, while the Highlanders have lost three of their opening four.

They broke the game open either side of half-time, with TJ Perenara crossing for the first try in the 28th minute.

The Hurricanes took a 12-0 lead into the break, Jacobus van Wyk crashing over on the right wing after a long pass from Jordie Barrett.

Devan Flanders went over to make it 17-0 to put the Hurricanes in complete control eight minutes into the second half.

Aaron Smith crossed for the Highlanders and Mitch Hunt kicked two penalties – the second coming in the 80th minute – but the Hurricanes held on.

There was no winning return to Super Rugby for Western Force as they were beaten 23-14 by the Waratahs at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

The Perth-based franchise were axed from Super Rugby three years ago, but returned for Super Rugby AU - a new domestic competition arranged due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It was all going so well for the Force as they scored 14 points without reply in the first half, Byron Ralston claiming the opening try and Ian Prior on target with three penalties.

The Waratahs roared back after a slow start, Gus Bell striking a blow to the Force by touching down on the stroke of half-time and Tom Staniforth crossing after the break.

Will Harrison booted 13 points as Rob Penney's side secured a first victory in their second match. 

The Crusaders maintained their 100 per cent Super Rugby Aotearoa record with a 26-15 victory over the Blues on Saturday.

Both sides came into the game at Orangetheory Stadium with three wins out of three and it was the Blues who suffered a first defeat.

Defending champions the Crusaders were 7-6 down at half-time in Christchurch, Mark Telea opening the scoring with a finish in the corner after being picked out by Otere Black, who added the extras.

Two Richie Mo'unga penalties were all Scott Robertson's side could muster in the first half and Rieko Ioane's try extended the Blues' lead after a penalty apiece for both sides.

The Crusaders clicked into gear to take the upper hand, though, Mitchell Drummond crossing following a powerful run down the left from George Bridge.

Will Jordan added another try late on and livewire fly-half Mo'unga finished with 16 points from the tee as the Crusaders moved six points clear of their opponents at the top of the table.

There was no separating the Rebels and the Reds after Super Time as they had to settle for an 18-18 draw at Brookvale Oval on Friday. 

Neither side could force what would have been the first golden-point victory in their second Super Rugby AU match, Reds full-back Bryce Hegarty falling just short with a long-range penalty strike. 

James O'Connor converted Alex Mafi's try right at the end to force extra time, though they proved to be the last points of the game. 

Two Matt Toomua penalties gave the Rebels a 6-0 half-time lead, but Filipo Daugunu's try and another O'Connor strike from the tee put the Reds in front. 

Tries from Reece Hodge and Bill Meakes, the second converted by Toomua, made it advantage Rebels. However, O'Connor reduced the deficit by three before levelling with time almost up after Mafi had crossed. 

Sean Maitland has signed a new two-year contract with Saracens despite the club's relegation to the Championship.

Premiership and European champions Saracens will play in England's second tier next term following their relegation due to salary cap breaches.

A number of the club's star names have been linked with moves away while the season is suspended due to coronavirus.

One player who will not be leaving is Scotland wing Maitland, with the 31-year-old – who has scored 29 tries in 73 appearances – agreeing to stay on until at least 2022.

Director of rugby Mark McCall said: "Sean has made an outstanding contribution to our club over the last four years both on and off the field.

"He has taken his game to a new level during that time and has had a great influence on some of our younger players.

"To have a player of Sean's quality and experience commit his future to the club is a huge boost."

Maitland's contract follows Manu Vunipola agreeing a new deal on Wednesday.

Ben Youngs, George Ford, Ellis Genge and Jaco Taute have all signed new contracts with Leicester Tigers.

The Premiership club confirmed the new deals for England internationals Youngs and Ford at Welford Road were "long-term".

Along with England team-mate Genge, who has reportedly extended his contract by a year, scrum-half Youngs and fly-half Ford had each signed previous terms in January.

South Africa centre Taute, who joined from Munster last year, has also committed his future to the Tigers.

It means 17 Leicester players have now signed fresh terms despite reports of disputes during talks due to the reduction of the salary cap for the 2021-22 season, with Manu Tuilagi and Telusa Veainu among those to depart.

Director of rugby Geordan Murphy said seeing the likes of Ford "showing a belief in what we are building here and the vision we have for Leicester Tigers is exciting".

He added of Youngs: "Ben loves Leicester Tigers and, like all of us at this club, wants to see it get back to where it belongs.

"He knows there is a tough journey ahead which will take a lot of hard work, on and off the pitch, and has expressed throughout this process that he is committed to whatever it takes."

Leicester were 11th in the table, with four wins from 13 matches, when the Premiership season was suspended in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, with only Saracens keeping off them bottom as they were deducted 105 points for breaching salary cap regulations.

The competition is due to resume from August 15.

Stade Francais have signed Telusa Veainu from Leicester Tigers, as well as Gloucester's Gerbrandt Grobler. 

Veainu, who can operate on the wing or at full-back, has agreed a three-year deal with the Top 14 heavyweights as Leicester cut costs due to the coronavirus crisis. 

South African lock Grobler will join Veainu in Paris, signing on for two seasons with the option for a third. 

Tigers director of rugby Geordan Murphy spoke of his disappointment that Tongan Veainu has left Welford Road after almost five seasons at the Premiership club. 

"Murphy said: "We thank Telusa for all that he has given to Leicester Tigers during his time with us. 

"The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has not been lost on anyone and, while we hoped to see Telusa play out the remaining one-and-a-half seasons of his contract with us at Tigers, we appreciate the varying individual circumstances of all our players and wish him, his partner and child well in their next chapter in Paris." 

England centre Manu Tuilagi also left the Tigers last week after failing to agree terms. 

Former Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw has signed for Japanese Top League side Shining Arcs.

Laidlaw, 34, retired from international duty after the 2019 Rugby World Cup and has ended his three-year association with Clermont Auvergne for a move to Japan.

The experienced scrum-half will team up with Australia flanker Liam Gill and Rebels hooker Anaru Rangi ahead of the 2021 season.

"At the Scotland Tests in Japan in 2016 and at the World Cup last year, I was able to experience the wonderful culture of Japan and meet wonderful fans," Laidlaw said in a Shining Arcs statement.

"Every time I have visited Japan, I was welcomed with a wonderful hospitality and I look forward to living in this country and becoming a member of Shining Arcs."

This year's Top League season was cancelled due to coronavirus and the 2021 campaign is not scheduled to begin until January.

Jordie Barrett returned from injury to lead the Hurricanes past the Chiefs 25-18 for their first win of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season.

In his first game back from a shoulder injury, All Blacks utility Barrett made an instant impact with 10 points and two try assists in Hamilton, where the Hurricanes survived a red card to Scott Scrafton on Sunday.

Scrafton was shown a second yellow card with 15 minutes remaining at FMG Stadium Waikato but the Hurricanes held on to score their first win of the 2020 campaign while ending the 0-4 Chiefs' title hopes in the 10-week round-robin tournament.

Both teams were winless heading into the contest, but the Hurricanes silenced the 15,031-strong crowd following a dominant first half on the road.

Barrett kicked two conversions and two penalties, including a 62-metre effort to help the Hurricanes take a 20-3 half-time lead.

The Hurricanes star threw a long pass to Kobus van Wyk for the first try of the match in the fourth minute before Du'Plessis Kirifi also crossed over prior to the interval.

Damian McKenzie slotted his second penalty after the restart however, Warren Gatland's Chiefs were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage during the closing stages.

Van Wyk added his second try of the match following Scrafton's dismissal, while the Chiefs' Lachlan Boshier scored off a long pass from Sean Wainui in the 77th minute.

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