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England star set to miss Six Nations opener

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Friday Dec 29, 2023

In a blow to England’s Six Nations aspirations, powerhouse centre Manu Tuilagi is poised to sit out the opening clash against Italy on February 3rd, nursing a grade three tear in his groin. The injury occurred during the second half of Sale’s crunch 22-20 Premiership victory over Saracens at the Salford Community Stadium last Friday.

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The 32-year-old veteran, capped 60 times for England, has a history of grappling with persistent groin issues throughout his career. Despite the setback, Sale director of rugby, Alex Sanderson, reassures fans that surgery is not on the horizon for Tuilagi, and the player is committed to making a swift recovery.

Sanderson disclosed, “Manu has pulled his groin, and we think he’s going to be back during the Six Nations, but not for the first week.”

While the standard recovery time for such an injury is six weeks, Tuilagi, known for his resilience, is eyeing a return in four weeks.

Sanderson, reflecting on a conversation with the determined player, stated, “He’s like, ‘I need to play, and if I’m good to play, it’s up to England regarding selection.'”

Tuilagi’s absence could be felt keenly in the anticipated face-off against Wales at Twickenham the following week, with his formidable presence on the field being a key asset for England.

Having played a pivotal role in England’s six matches at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, Tuilagi’s desire to continue representing his country at the international level remains undiminished.

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In addition to Tuilagi’s injury, Sale will also be without prop Bevan Rodd for the entire Six Nations as he recovers from toe surgery.

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