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Tuilagi visits witch doctor, rids himself of 'spirit wives'

Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi

Manu Tuilagi is yet to think about returning to England duty, after visiting a witch doctor in Samoa to help end his injury nightmare.

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The Leicester Tigers powerhouse has been plagued by injury during the past three years, limiting his appearances for his club and restricting him to just one England cap since 2014.

In August, Tuilagi was sent home from an England training camp over “team culture issues” and then suffered a further blow when he strained the meniscus in his left knee during Leicester’s Premiership opener against Bath.

And the 26-year-old spoke about enlisting the help of a witch doctor to ensure he receives a clean bill of health.

Speaking to ESPN, he said: “I went to see the witch doctor [last week] in Samoa to find out if there’s a reason why I keep getting injured.

“It took four days for the treatment. I had to take a towel and a Fijian oil so that the witch doctor would have half Samoan and half Fijian. The treatment had to be with Fijian oils.

“She massaged my body for an hour-and-a-half, two hours. I went four days in a row. That protects you.

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“I’m feeling good, better than when I went back. I’m looking forward to getting back playing. Hopefully when I come back and play for a long period of time, they’ll have to sack all the physios!” Tuilagi also told Independent.ie. He told of the appearance of three lady spirits who had married themselves on to him for the last three years.

“The witch doctor told me that was why I had been injured. The spirits wanted me for themselves – they wanted to punish me and injuring me was the way to do it. Every time I played – bang!

“I was always with my brother Alex. The conditions of the treatment meant I wasn’t able to go anywhere on my own. I wasn’t allowed to sleep in the room by myself so me and Alex set up a little camp in the living room in front of the TV.

“In most of these cases back home, the girls end up taking their victims alive and will never be seen. There are male spirits too, but the witch doctor said I was too handsome!”

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Tuilagi has been tipped for a December comeback, but he is refusing to think too far ahead in terms of an England call up for the Six Nations.

“I just want to get back playing for my club and go from there,” he added.

“I take things day by day, week by week. I always focus on playing for my club.

“There have been times when you doubt yourself, those dark moments where you think will I ever get back? There are people who help me, my family have been great. The family will always be there for me.”

Eddie Jones said after Tuilagi’s misdemeanour that he would have a chance to earn an international recall, and the centre revealed England’s head coach has been staying in contact.

“He’s [Jones] been checking in, seeing how the injury’s going and when I’ll be back playing,” Tuilagi said.

“He’s a good man, always checking in if I’m going well and says ‘stick in there, you’ll get through it’.”

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Shaylen 5 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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J
Jon 11 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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