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Tuilagi backed to become world class despite setback

By Nick Purewal

Luckless England centre Manu Tuilagi will miss the rest of the season with a knee ligament injury - but has still been tipped to realise his "world-class potential".

The injury-plagued Leicester battering ram suffered a ligament tear in Sunday's 16-12 Aviva Premiership defeat to Saracens, and will be sidelined for at least six months.

Tuilagi has battled severe groin trouble in the last two years and only managed just the one replacement appearance for England in 2016.

The injury blow to Tuilagi compounds Leicester's sacking of Rugby Director Richard Cockerill on Monday, with interim boss Aaron Mauger left to help the Samoa-born midfielder come to terms with his latest setback.

"Unfortunately Manu sustained an ACL injury in the game on Sunday that's going to put him out for the rest of the season," said Leicester coach Mauger.

"It's looking like a six-month recovery which is devastating for the bloke, he's worked so hard to get back to where he is.

"He's absolutely gutted, but we've got a good support team around him, we'll put a good plan in place and we'll see him back on the field early next season.

"Manu can absolutely still realise his world-class potential, despite this latest injury.

"He's started to show those signs in the last couple of weeks that he's been in probably the best space that he's ever been in.

"We're really proud of the growth we've seen in him as a person.

"He was starting to get his explosive power and speed back and is really starting to understand the game better as well.

"He's starting to become a more complete footballer which is a great space for him to be in."

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