The most well known Tuilagi brothers, Henry and Alesana, have become synonymous with their big runs and crunching hits, but theres another brother who is slowly creeping onto the radar as a potential star of the world game.
His name is Manu, hes still only 19, and he plays for Leicester Tigers. He also happens to be eligible to play for England and already has those in the know stating that its just a matter of time before he does.
He first came to prominence a year ago when Leicester Tigers played the South African midweek side as he, along with Ben Youngs, put in eye catching performances. A year on, and Youngs is the first choice scrumhalf for England. Tuilagi’s star might follow a similar path.
Manu, having opted out of going the flash route by growing his hair like his brothers, brings all the physicality, skill, and sheer doggedness required in the modern game. Shorter in stature than most centers, he makes up for it with his power.
Whether its carrying the ball up or smashing his opponent, this Tuilagi brother looks certain to have a successful international career, albeit for a different country. He has risen through the age ranks with England after having lived there for most of his teenage years.
Under 16s, under 18s, under 20s, and now with Leicester, he has stated that England is the country hed like to play for. The only question now is whether theres any chance of him being fast tracked into the senior side and possibly turning out at the World Cup next year.
Tigers coach Richard Cockerill feels he should be. “If Manu has a good season for us, there is no reason why he cant go to the World Cup. Hes that good. If England get an opportunity I think they would like to see what he can do, Cockerill said recently.
Hes definitely one to watch over the next year or so, and with hits like this one against Harlequins two weeks ago, ball carriers should also be well aware of his approaching presence.