Quota situation could hold key to possible Tuilagi to Toronto deal

Toronto Wolfpack continue to explore the possibility of a deal for rugby union superstar Manu Tuilagi: with the club keen to discover where he would stand in regards to the overseas quota.

Sources have told League Express that a deal for Tuilagi, who is under contract at Premiership side Leicester Tigers, is still a long way from completion. However, there is quiet optimism they may be able to persuade the England union international to cross codes and follow Sonny Bill Williams in joining the newly-promoted side.

The 28-year-old’s salary would not be an issue for Toronto, as Tuilagi would qualify for a full exemption on the salary cap during his first year in the sport following rules voted through by Super League clubs. Luther Burrell’s move to Warrington saw his salary not count on the cap when he crossed codes, and Tuilagi, having never played league professionally, would fall in the same bracket.

However, the quota situation is far more complex and could be the key to any deal if Tuilagi decides he wants to join. Toronto currently have no space on their overseas quota, and sources close to the club told League Express that they have no desire to actively move anyone on.

That would mean that if Tuilagi was classified as Non-Federation Trained, which is possible given how he was born in Samoa, the Wolfpack would be unable to get him through the door without moving another overseas player on.

However, Toronto are keen to find out whether Tuilagi’s upbringing and subsequent career in English rugby union – plus the fact he is an England international – would qualify him for an exemption on the RFL’s quota system.