After eight years with the Leicester Tigers fearsome Samoan wing Alesana Tuilagi is set to leave the Premiership club at the end of the season to take up a lucrative contract in Japan.
The massively physical gas-man turns 31 next month, and Tigers coach Richard Cockerill seems resigned to the fact that he will not extend his contract at Welford Road when it comes up at the end of the season.
He told the Leicester Mercury: "The Japanese are very interested in a player who is one of the most high-profile in the world. Alesana is 30 and it is probably going to be his last contract.
The Tigers boss explained that although he will do his level best to hold on to a player who has been a big part of their recent success, the kind of money he is being offered in Japan cannot possibly be matched.
"It is of interest to him, and the numbers they talk about would be impossible for us to compete with. We'll obviously try and keep him but the money the Japanese talk about is in a different sphere to us.
"They want to raise the profile of their game – they host the World Cup in 2019 – and they can offer Alesana three to four times more than we could offer," said Cockerill.
The loss of Tuilagi, who has 158 caps for the Tigers and has scored 58 tries in his time in Leicester, will be a huge blow for the club and their supporters who have become used to having a human wrecking ball out on the wing.
Alesana is one of six brothers to have played for the Tigers, with the rest of them having either retired or moved to other clubs with the exception of young Manu who is still forging a career with Leicester and England.
Known for his pace and power, Tuilagi has been in great form recently running in 17 tries in 29 games for the Tigers last season and making a big impression playing for Samoa at the World Cup last year.
In what is likely to be the final contract of his career Tuilagi looks set to join other international stars such as South Africa's Jaque Fourie, Fourie Dup Preez and Danie Rossouw and New Zealand's Ma'a Nonu and Mils Muliaina who have taken up huge contracts in Japan recently.
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.