England centre Manu Tuilagi has been ruled out for six months with a torn achilles after he was injured on Premiership duty for Sale on Tuesday night at Northampton.

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Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond revealed on Thursday that Tuilagi will undergo surgery next week. “The latest is he has had a scan. Surgery next week hopefully and it’s a torn achilles. (He’s out for) Six months.

“What will be will be. It’s brutal what we’re playing at the minute and he took a nasty (knock), Dan Biggar fell on him. It was an accident but these things happen.

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“It might have been a bit of a jinx me saying before the game we have got nine games out of him out of nine and boom, that happens. I’ll keep my trap shut in future.

“It will be a loss to both England and Sale but rather selfishly, after this game and play-offs we probably wouldn’t have seen Manu until April with the England commitments and the EPS rest periods. He’ll have a chance to build a bit more furniture.”

The injury means Tuilagi will miss the entire Autumn Nations Cup and the two England Six Nations campaigns, this month’s completion of the delayed 2020 championship and next year’s entire 2021 tournament. Tuilagi, who signed for Sale in July after refusing to agree to reduced terms at Leicester, took a bang to his left achilles during a bulldozing carry out of defence at Franklin’s Gardens when Sale were pinned in their own 22.

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Diamond had feared the worst, commenting post-game on Tuesday: “I don’t think it’s clever. I don’t think it’s the best. Manu has settled in so well. We were having a bit of crack this week about how he’s never played so many games, maybe that was a jinx.

“Whatever it takes to get Manu back, we’ll do it, however long it takes. We’ll comfort him over the next month or two and chat about a long-term career with us. We’re delighted about what he’s done for us so far.”

Sale, who are due to finish their regulation-season on Sunday at home to Worcester, are in a four-team fight for the three remaining Premiership play-off places behind the already qualified Exeter.

While the situation regarding the extent of Tuilagi’s injury is now known, it won’t until next week that there is confirmation on the what the outlook is regarding Northampton’s Courtney Lawes, the other England player who limped out of the Franklin’s Gardens action.

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Northampton issued a statement on Wednesday night that stated: “Saints can confirm that Courtney Lawes sustained an ankle injury in last night’s defeat to Sale Sharks which requires further examination by a specialist next week when the timeframe for his recovery will become clearer.”

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