England star Manu Tuilagi ruled out for up to six weeks after breaking his hand twice at the World Cup… but injury-hit Sale centre, 32, has no intention of retiring from Test duty
- England centre Manu Tuilagi is set to miss up to six weeks with a broken hand
- Tuilagi, 32, won his 59th cap as Steve Borthwick’s side finished third in France
- Sale also monitoring fitness of England’s Tom Curry following the World Cup
England centre Manu Tuilagi is set to miss up to six weeks with a broken hand suffered on World Cup duty but plans to continue playing international into 2024.
Tuilagi, 32, won his 59th cap as Steve Borthwick’s side finished third at the tournament in France. Given his age and past injury record, his future at Test level looked uncertain moving forward.
But the powerhouse back’s club coach – Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson – said Tuilagi is still committed to England moving forwards.
‘Manu’s got a plate in his hand from a fracture from the World Cup,’ Sanderson said.
‘He is going to be out for four to six weeks. Knowing Manu, it will be three to five.
England centre Manu Tuilagi is set to miss up to six weeks with a broken hand
‘He broke it against Samoa and then broke it again in the third place play-off. It is just collateral damage from playing in the World Cup.
‘I asked him: “How was it Manu? Are you hanging up your international boots?”
‘He was like: “You will have to put me down physically, lethally inject me, to stop me playing international rugby”. He is loving it at the moment.’
Tuilagi is unlikely to play until at least the start of European competition in December.
Sanderson is also monitoring the fitness of England’s Tom Curry following the World Cup ahead of his team’s game with Bristol on Saturday.
Luke Cowan-Dickie is available for the Ashton Gate trip.
World Cup darlings Portugal will have the chance to continue the impressive form they showed in France by taking on an England A side on February 25.
Tuilagi, 32, won his 59th cap as Steve Borthwick’s side finished third at the World Cup in France
The RFU is reintroducing the team – which was previously known as England Saxons – as a way of improving the country’s rugby development pathway system for young players.
England A haven’t played a game since 2016 but that will change next year when they face Os Lobos who famously claimed the scalp of Fiji and drew with Georgia at the World Cup by playing an attractive brand of rugby. The game will be held at Leicester’s Welford Road and during the Six Nations, so the side will be selected by senior England head coach Steve Borthwick.
It is likely to contain wider members of Borthwick’s squad who won’t have been involved in the round three Six Nations game with Scotland in Edinburgh the day previously.
The match is still subject to World Rugby approval.
‘Portugal demonstrated their capabilities as a rugby nation on the world stage in recent months with their attacking flair and passion,’ said RFU director of performance Conor O’Shea.
‘They are a team possessing many bright stars for the future and are a befitting opponent for our A squad.
‘England Rugby wants to be part of providing gametime and mutual collaboration for emerging nations such as Portugal who have a great deal to offer to the game.
Sale are also monitoring the fitness of England’s Tom Curry following the World Cup
‘I’m sure both they and our A side will gain a lot from February’s match. This builds on partnerships we have with other nations.
‘We are looking to develop further links with other emerging unions.’
England hopeful Zach Mercer’s chances of pushing for a place in the 2024 Six Nations and making a strong start with new club Gloucester have been hit by ankle surgery.
Sam Costelow, now Wales’ first-choice No 10 after the retirement of Dan Biggar and Gareth Anscombe’s move to Japan, is another Six Nations doubt due to shoulder and hamstring issues.
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