Fans rally behind Manu Tuilagi to vote him as world's best centre ahead of Welsh star

England sensation Manu Tuilagi has been voted the world’s best centre by fans around the globe after fighting off the challenge of Wales star Jonathan Davies in a poll on social media.

The Samoan-born 28-year-old claimed the victory with a comfortable winning margin of 62 percent on RugbyPass‘ Facebook and Instagram accounts as part of the Straight 8 Fan Vote campaign to determine the best player on the planet in each position.

Tuilagi and Davies were left as the last two players standing in the third and final round of the knockout bracket after having dispatched some household names in the prior two rounds.

After downing versatile All Blacks and Chiefs midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown with 73 percent of the vote, Tuilagi backed that up with a similarly comprehensive win against France and Racing 92 star Virimi Vakatawa with more than 72 percent of the public’s backing in the second round.

On the other side of the draw, Davies had defeated Wallabies utility James O’Connor after accruing 81 percent of the vote, before going on to surge past All Blacks incumbent Jack Goodhue with more than 63 percent of the fans’ approval.

In the end, though, it was Tuilagi – a 2013 Premiership champion with the Leicester Tigers and a British and Irish Lions tourist that same year – who proved to to be too good for his former Lions teammate.

His recognition by fans as the world’s premier No. 13 is deserved reward for Tuilagi, who was a standout in England’s run to the World Cup final last year following a long run of injury and disciplinary issues.

By virtue of being voted the best centre on the planet, the 44-test veteran – who last year turned down a lucrative £2.5m contract offer from Racing 92 to stay at Leicester – will feature in the RugbyPass Straight 8 Fan Vote World XV alongside fellow international teammate Maro Itoje.

The Saracens lock is one of many, including the likes of Cheslin Kolbe, Malcolm Marx, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermeulen and Stuart Hogg, who have already won previous instalments of the campaign.

The eighth instalment of the Straight 8 Fan Vote will get underway next week.