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Fresh delay for Tuilagi after latest Sale conversation with England

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Manu Tuilagi hasn’t started back training with the Sale squad this week as was hoped for following his recent hamstring injury setback with England. It was February 24 when the midfielder was chosen to start for his country in their round three Guinness Six Nations match at home to Wales.

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However, it emerged some hours later that Tuilagi had suffered the 1A fascia tear that ruled him out from playing the Test match. Sale boss Alex Sanderson declared on March 2 that the expectation was that the player would be back on the training pitch for the club this week, but that return has now been pushed back until next week following further consultation with England. 

The decision apparently hasn’t yet completely ruled out Tuilagi from getting selected in the England squad for the March 19 round five Six Nations finale away to France, but the delay in his Sale squad training return will lend itself to the feeling that he really won’t make it back in time to feature for Eddie Jones’ team.  

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Asked by RugbyPass had Tulagi made it back on the training paddock as was envisaged, Sanderson explained: “No. He made it back into the training ground but not on the training paddock but he should be training next week. 

I touched base with England and we made the call over the weekend. That was the conversation we had with Richard Hill, who is the team manager, so we will see how he goes the back-end of this week. It will be England’s call at the end of the day because technically he is their player at this point.”

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So potentially he still has a shot at facing France? “Yeah, he could, who knows,” continued Sanderson, who added that he has a meeting planned on Friday with Tuilagi who apparently remains upbeat despite his latest disappointment. “He’s eternally positive. He seems good, seems on it. 

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“I need to have a proper sit-down and see where his head is at and I’ll do that on Friday given that he will be up for selection potentially at the start of the week.”

Tuilagi was initially injured when scoring for England in their November 20 win over the Springboks. He made a comeback with Sale eleven weeks later, coming off the bench at Harlequins before starting at home to Worcester. He then came through a fallow week training camp with England in London unscathed, but his hopes of facing Wales on February 26 were dashed by his untimely latest strain.

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