Sale Sharks statement: Manu Tuilagi withdrawn from Harlequins game
Tuilagi is understood to have come into close contact with a positive Covid-19 case and is being isolated.
It’s a blow for the England centre who will be hoping to impress Warren Gatland as he bids to be first in line for a British and Irish Lions call-up, should they suffer a midfield injury on tour in South Africa. Tuilagi is just back from a long-term injury that saw him spend the guts of the season on the sidelines.
The statement reads: “Sale Sharks can confirm that a member of its staff received a positive COVID-19 test during routine lateral flow testing at the club’s Carrington training facility this week.
“As a result, video analysis of training was carried out in line with Premiership Rugby guidelines, and all players who came into contact with that member of staff were directed to self-isolate until further testing could be arranged.
“In consultation with Public Health England a round of drive-through PCR testing was also conducted. That member of staff returned a further positive result and is continuing to isolate.
“There were no additional positive COVID-19 tests and all other players will return to full training next week.
“However, following further investigation it was noted that Manu Tuilagi came into close contact with the affected member of staff.
“As a result, the club will replace him in the matchday squad for the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match against Harlequins on Friday. Robert du Preez will take his place in the starting XV, with Aaron Reed taking the South African’s place among the replacements.
“All players are being tested daily and we look forward to having the full team back in training ahead of the next game.
“The member of staff who tested positive is being monitored by the Sharks medical staff, and in the interests of privacy, Sale Sharks will not be disclosing their name.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now