Sale Sharks have been boosted by the return to fitness of international duo Faf de Klerk and Manu Tuilagi ahead of Sunday’s Premiership match against Harlequins.
De Klerk has not played since suffering a hip injury in the Rugby Championship match against the All Blacks in Australia last October.
Upon his return to England, the Springbok scrumhalf had to undergo surgery. Initially only expected back towards the end of February, he was two to three weeks ahead of schedule in his recovery and has this week started full training.
“I got told two weeks on Sunday and four weeks on Monday – that was just the medical team wanting a pat on the back in front of the coaches, so I think it is two or three weeks ahead of schedule,” Sale coach Alex Sanderson explained to RugbyPass.
“He is also up for selection, buzzing around, a little ball of blonde energy around the training ground. He is in good form.”
Sanderson has also welcomed Tuilagi back, after the centre recovered from the injury he suffered playing against the Springboks in November.
“It’s a very definite maybe for this weekend, I have to say,” Sanderson said.
“He has been out there the last two weeks. This week he has trained really well, looked sharp, looked good, happy. Yes, he is up for selection. Fit.”
That news will be a boost for England hoping to see Tuilagi play in the Six Nations, but Sanderson is taking more of a cautious approach with the injury-prone player.
“More than one game would be advisable. His load has to be incrementally increased. We are overcautions so.
“That is what we are aiming towards but I am being flexible on either side of that depending on how he feels and his communication with England.
“I don’t really have a say in it. I have just got to see how he feels, see what the physios say and it is England’s call then, really.”
Photo: PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP via Getty Images