Tuilagi to miss November Tests?

Tue, 24 Sep 2013 16:45
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Manu Tuilagi could miss England's November internationls after suffering a suspected torn pectoral muscle injury.

Manu Tuilagi could miss England's November international programme after Leicester coach Richard Cockerill said on Tuesday the dynamic centre had suffered a suspected torn pectoral muscle injury.

Tuilagi sustained the injury in the Premiership champions' 31-6 win over Newcastle on Saturday, his first match since featuring in the British and Irish Lions’ 2-1 series win in Australia.

"Manu Tuilagi has a suspected torn pec muscle in his chest," said Cockerill.

"He's having further investigation into that. Until we know exactly what the damage is it is hard to tell how long he will be out, but you'd think it is certainly weeks, leading to months potentially, rather than days.

"He did it in a tackle in the final minutes of the game on Saturday. Hopefully, he has just partially torn a pec muscle - we're having it assessed. But it could mean surgery, depending on how severe it is."

Tuilagi's injury is a fresh setback for England coach Stuart Lancaster, already without Leicester teammate Tom Croft and Saracens centre Brad Barritt for November's internationals due to knee and foot problems respectively.

Depending on the severity of the injury, the 22-year-old Tuilagi could miss one or all of England's Twickenham encounters against Australia (November 2), Argentina (November 9) and world champions New Zealand (November 16).

Billy Twelvetrees and Kyle Eastmond are now the remaining fit centres in Lancaster's elite player squad.

Samoa-born Tuilagi had a hand in creating two of Leicester's five tries against Newcastle before coming off with five minutes of the match left.

Afterwards, Leicester backs coach Paul Burke said Tuilagi was withdrawn as a precaution following an attack of cramp.

Last week Tuilagi, who blotted his copybook by jumping off a ferry into Auckland harbour at the end of England's lacklustre 2011 World Cup campaign, apologised for a prank he played on British Prime Minister during a Downing Street reception in honour of the Lions.

Tuilagi was photographed making a 'bunny ears' gesture behind Cameron's head. That led former England hooker Brian Moore to brand Tuilagi a "complete and utter prat", while Cockerill said the gesture was "daft".