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Sale issue disappointing Curry update but have better news on Manu

By Chris Jones
(Photo by Steve Bardens/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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Manu Tuilagi will return to action for Sale against Bath this weekend but stand-in England captain Tom Curry faces up to six more weeks out after damaging his hamstring in the March 12 Guinness Six Nations loss to Ireland at Twickenham. Like Curry, Tuilagi suffered a hamstring injury while on duty with England – and his return for the Sharks a week after the championship will only further frustrate English fans who saw their team only sporadically threaten as an attacking unit.

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Originally injured in the November win over South Africa, Tuilagi had been named to start in the February 26 game against Wales after fighting his way back to fitness but he then had to pull out just hours after that round three team announcement following a hamstring tweak at training.

Providing an injury update ahead of this weekend’s Gallagher Premiership trip to Bath, Sale boss Alex Sanderson said: “Tom Curry is out for another five to six weeks with a hamstring tear. It’s just one of those things and he will be back for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals (May 6-8) if we are worthy of getting through to that stage.

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“We are lucky that we have someone who is genetically the same [twin brother Ben Curry] to come back this week. Ben is looking really sharp. Tom also had tonsilitis as well as a concussion (against Wales). He had a torrid time in this Six Nations and it has been tough for him.

“We gave him a week off and it was his grandad’s birthday at the weekend. It is about getting him back to some normality and he has been around the training ground today [Tuesday] with a smile on his face.”

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Switching from Curry to Tuilagi, the Sale boss added: “Manu is up for selection this weekend – one of the world’s best centres. He did most of the training last week and there was a discussion about if he would go back to England but with the jump from the Premiership to international training loads, no one thought it was wise. He is looking sharp this week and to have him back is brilliant on and off the field. He is a wrecking ball. People grow a few inches around him and the squad gets tighter.

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“Manu wasn’t rushed back but the step up in loading was too much and it needed a more graduated return to play. Is that being rushed? In hindsight, yes, because he got injured and we will sit down for another conversation with England about getting him ready for the World Cup.”

While Tuilagi is back in the mix, Sale’s bid for a top-four finish has suffered another blow with USA skipper AJ MacGinty set to miss five weeks due to a knee injury, a setback that Sanderson initially feared was worse. “With AJ it could have been another ACL and six months,” explained the director of rugby.

“I’m so happy the lad can play for us again this season and when the swelling went down the surgeon said there was no tear. He will be back for the last three games and hopefully the quarter-finals of Europe.”

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