England and the Sale Sharks suffered a massive blow after Manu Tuilagi was ruled out with a tendon injury for the next six months.
Tuilagi will definitely miss England’s upcoming postponed Six Nations match against Italy as well as the eight-team Nations Cup in November and most likely the entirety of the 2021 Six Nations.
The 29-year-old will undergo surgery on his achilles tendon next week.
Tuilagi suffered the injury during the Sale Sharks’ bonus-point win over the Northampton Saints on Tuesday after an awkward collision with Wales flyhalf Dan Biggar.
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond outlined that the blow was bigger for England, as they face a packed Test calendar over the next six months.
‘It will be a loss to both England and Sale but, rather selfishly, that after this game and the playoffs we probably wouldn’t have seen Manu until April or May between the EPS [England elite player squad] rules and rest periods.
‘It is brutal what we are playing at the moment. These things happen; maybe it was a bit of a jinx saying before the game that we got nine games out of him out of nine. And, boom, that happens. I should keep my trap shut in future.’
The injury will also put Tuilagi in a race against time for the British & Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa in 2021. Successive knee injuries suffered in the 2016-17 season forced him to miss the Lions’ tour of New Zealand in 2017.
England coach Eddie Jones will be hoping for a clean bill of health from the Premiership squads after the final round of action this weekend, having already lost lock Courtney Lawes to an ankle injury in the Sale vs Northampton fixture.
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