Manu Tuilagi ruled out of England’s clash against South Africa through injury… with Chris Ashton replacing him in Eddie Jones’s squad
- England face South Africa in the first of four autumn internationals on Saturday
- Manu Tuilagi was named on the bench but will now miss out with a groin strain
- Taking the centre’s place in Eddie Jones’s 23-man squad is wing Chris Ashton
- The England coach has already been hit by injuries to a number of his stars
England centre Manu Tuilagi has pulled out of Saturday’s autumn opener against South Africa with a groin injury.
The centre was primed for his first Test appearance since March 2016 but suffered the blow on the final day of England’s warm weather camp in Portugal.
Having seemingly overcome years of injury problems, Tuilagi was named on the bench but his place has now been taken over by winger Chris Ashton.
Centre Manu Tuilagi has been ruled out of England’s clash with South Africa through injury
Co-captain Owen Farrell confirmed the news on Friday – leaving England facing an injury list containing almost 20 players.
‘The lads have spoken to Manu and he’s in high enough spirits,’ said Farrell. ‘It’s not too serious but, with his history. it’s not one to risk. I’m sure he’ll be around in the next couple of weeks.’
Tuilagi is expected to be fit for next week’s clash with the All Blacks, while Ashton is also on the comeback trail having been in Test exile since 2014.
The 31-year-old signed for Sale from Toulon to pursue his World Cup ambitions and will be hoping to build on his 19 tries in 39 Tests.
Farrell said: ‘Chris has shown in his decisions how hungry he is to play for England. You can tell that by the way he plays. He’s a man who lives scoring tries ans hopefully he can do that for England… again!’
Returning wing Chris Ashton has taken Tuilagi’s place in the 23 for the Twickenham showdown
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