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Blow for Leicester and England as Manu Tuilagi faces groin injury lay-off

Published 25/09/2016

Manu Tuilagi faces missing England's autumn Tests with a groin problem
Manu Tuilagi faces missing England's autumn Tests with a groin problem

Manu Tuilagi is set to miss England's autumn Tests after Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill revealed he will be out for another "six to eight weeks" with a groin problem.

Tuilagi has been plagued by injury problems for the last two years but made his comeback in Leicester's first game of the season against Gloucester.

However the 25-year-old centre has not played since and Cockerill says it could be mid-November before he returns.

England take on South Africa at Twickenham on November 12 and are scheduled to play another three Tests against Fiji, Argentina and Australia.

Cockerill said: "He has still got a tight groin. We are hoping he will be back on the field within six to eight weeks.

"It's tough, tough for everyone. We will support him, and he's working hard.

"When we get to six to eight weeks, we will see. It might be another three.

"He is a world-class player. He doesn't want to be injured, we don't want him to be injured. We want him on the field.

"His groin is not right, and we are going to get it right. When it's right he will play. At the moment we are hoping it will be six to eight weeks - if it's not, it's not.

"He is running and it's nowhere as severe as it was. It's tight, and we want to get rid of that."

Leicester did not miss Tuilagi on Sunday as they ended Bath's 100 per cent record with a 34-14 home win.

They scored three tries through captain Tom Youngs, Brendon O'Connor and Ed Slater. Bath responded with two from Semesa Rokoduguni and Tom Dunn.

The big difference was the boot of Owen Williams, who converted Leicester's dominance into points. He scored 17 after moving from centre to fly-half just before the match started because Freddie Burns was unwell.

Leicester's victory moved them up to fourth place, one point behind Bath, who had won their opening three games.

Cockerill added: "I'm delighted. The performance was pretty good. It was a proper Leicester performance, which is the first time in four weeks.

"We did not let Bath into the game and we never looked like losing.

"It was a really important game for us because it puts us right back in the mix. A few questions had been asked, inside and outside the club, about how we are trying to play.

"I thought the balance was good, our physicality and mentality, as well as our skills, and we showed pride and emotion in the Leicester shirt.

"We like to play on the fact that no-one likes us and we don't care. We had a poor start to the season performance-wise, although not points-wise.

"We had not played anywhere near how we would like. Today was a step in the right direction."

Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder said Leicester deserved to win.

"I've no complaints about the result," he said. "It was a really good game, a really good test.

"It was an arm wrestle, probably what we needed. I am not going to complain about the result because we fronted up.

"It's just that our skill execution wasn't what it should have been at times. We probably tried too hard and it cost us.

"We have learnt a lot of lessons from this and I am really proud of the boys. The thing I'm proud of is that we turned up mentally. It's just that we got beat."

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