Kyle Eastmond and ex-Toronto target Manu Tuilagi free agents after union release

James Gordon

St Helens' Kyle Eastmond during the engage Super League match at the KC Stadium, Hull.

Former St Helens dual-code international Kyle Eastmond and ex-Toronto target Manu Tuilagi are free agents after being released by rugby union side Leicester Tigers.

Eastmond, 30, made 74 appearances for Saints before switching to union in 2011 with Bath, moving on to Wasps and then Leicester in 2018. At the time of Eastmond’s departure from Wasps, he was linked with a return to Super League with Warrington, but that was soon dismissed.

He is one of a group of players released by the Tigers after refusing to take a pay cut, forced by the fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Eastmond made his Saints debut in 2007, playing his last game before his union switch in July 2011.

The Tigers had asked all players and staff to take a 25% reduction in salary.

Also departing Welford Road is England centre Tuilagi, who was last year linked with a big-money move to Toronto Wolfpack.

Tuilagi, 29, is a current international and was heavily linked with the Wolfpack over the winter, around the time they made their headline move for Sonny Bill Williams.

The current climate means a move to rugby league for either looks extremely unlikely, though Tuilagi would be excluded from the salary cap in the first year of his contract under the ‘new talent pool dispensation’ rule.

If Eastmond, who is continually linked with a move back to the north west but with Sale Sharks, returns, then through the ‘returning talent pool dispensation’ rule, 50% of his value would count towards the cap in year one, and 75% in year two.