Manu Tuilagi is a major doubt for England's Six Nations date in Dublin
Throw in injuries to Courtney Lawes, Ben Morgan, Joe Launchbury and Ben Foden and England have, in the space of two weeks, lost a lot of big-hitters
A phalanx of English rugby correspondents were greeted with grim news, on Monday, when they sat down for a natter with the otherwise upbeat Manu Tuilagi. The 23-year-old Leicester centre's ongoing groin injury will definitely rule him out of England's first two matches in the Six Nations. The injury, which also kept him out of England's November Tests, makes him a large doubt for the March 1 encounter with Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.
Tuilagi, who has 11 tries in 26 Test outings, told reporters his injury rehab was going slowly. "I had three prolotherapy injections - sugar - to try to bring the pubis back together," he told reporters. "It's slow but it's getting there. No one's really sure how long it is going to take. When it first happened even the doctor said it would be six to eight weeks."
Tuilagi only featured in one Six Nations game in 2014 - returning for the thrashing of Italy in Rome. With a World Cup in his medium-term future, the centre is taking his return 'day by day' and taking all the medical advice he can get. 'There are good days and bad days,' he added. 'Some days it feels brilliant and you wake up the next day and it doesn't feel so good.
'[The end of February is] ideal but I have to get this right. It’s not like a sprained ankle where you can strap up and get on with it. I have to make sure that, if I need to take another week or two, I’ll take it.' Tuilagi, who was speaking to reporters on behalf of BT, appeared on the broadcaster's Rugby Tonight show, last night, and was joined by a host of stars, including Brian O'Driscoll and Andrew Trimble.
Northampton Saints confirmed more bad news, for England coach Stuart Lancaster, this afternoon as it confirmed fullback Ben Foden's season was over due to a knee (ACL) injury.
— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) January 20, 2015