Manu down for Eng­land

TUILAGI MISSES AU­TUMN TESTS

Midweek Sport - - SPORTS -

MANU TUILAGI has been ruled out of Eng­land’s au­tumn se­ries with a groin in­jury, his club Le­ices­ter an­nounced last night.

Tuilagi limped off after 15 min­utes of Satur­day’s 25-18 Cham­pi­ons Cup vic­tory over Ul­ster and will miss the Tests against New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa and Aus­tralia start­ing next month.

A time frame for Tuilagi’s re­turn is ex­pected in the com­ing days, with the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lion hav­ing suf­fered a dif­fer­ent groin in­jury to the one that side­lined him for three Premier­ship games last month.

Le­ices­ter di­rec­tor of rugby Richard Cock­er­ill stressed that cen­tre Tuilagi’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion will not be rushed to en­able him to make the end of Eng­land’s QBE Se­ries, which be­gins against the All Blacks on Novem­ber 8.

“Manu has had scans and we are still wait­ing for the ex­act prog­no­sis. He won’t be fit for the au­tumn in­ter­na­tion­als for sure,” Cock­er­ill said.

“You’d imag­ine it be­ing four weeks plus be­fore he’s back on the field. He’ll strug­gle to be in­volved.

“We had the Eng­land doc­tor in and every­body’s aware of the sit­u­a­tion. It’s a con­tin­ual di­a­logue.

“We know how good Manu is. He doesn’t need to prove him­self, he just needs to get him­self fit. That’s the key for me. If he’s right and fit then he’s as good as there is.

“It’s not about him play­ing at the back end of the au­tumn, it’s about him be­ing fit and mak­ing sure he’s 100 per cent so he can come back and do what Manu does.”

Tuilagi first dam­aged his groin in the 24-20 Premier­ship vic­tory at Ex­eter on Septem­ber 13.

“It’s a slightly dif­fer­ent in­jury. He went to push off and ac­cel­er­ate and he thought he was go­ing to score,” Cock­er­ill added.

“He backed him­self, felt his groin go and there was no power.

Weapon

“At this point we just need to find out ex­actly what the prob­lem is and find the right treat­ment.”

The news is a ma­jor set­back for Eng­land coach Stu­art Lan­caster (right) who has been robbed of his main strike weapon for a key part of his World Cup 2015 prepa­ra­tions.

If fit, Tuilagi was a guar­an­teed starter against New Zealand.

Cock­er­ill said: “Of course he’s frus­trated, but he’s pretty level-headed and is a good pro. His con­cern is to get fit.”

Lan­caster names his 33-man player squad for the au­tumn to­day.

elite

CROCKED: Eng­land will badly miss their dan­ger man Tuilagi

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