It’s been a strange couple of years for England and Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi.
The 26-year-old out-side centre has endured the high of being part of a successful Lions tour of Australia in 2013, to the low of being perpetually plagued by groin, shoulder, and calf injuries that have limited the centre's playing time.
Tuilagi’s latest off-field infringement – going on an all-night bender with England teammate Denny Solomona during a training camp in Teddington - led to the pair being sent back to their respective clubs in disgrace.
The 26-year-old’s misdemeanour led to club coach Matt O’Connor defending the player; explaining that the Samoan’s lack off game time caused a lot of frustration for the player.
He said: “He was isolated off the back of being in rehab all time, and he wasn’t enjoying all the things that he enjoys doing.
“We sat down with him and worked out what are the things that excite him about the environment and tried to expose him to as much of that as we could.
“He is working really hard. We made a conscious decision when he came back out of England camp to expose him to as much rugby as we could because he was incredibly frustrated with not being allowed to do weights, not being allowed to participate with the lads.
“He understands that he made a mistake. He knows he got it wrong. He has come back with a renewed attitude. He understands what the standards are around the England environment.”
Eddie Jones was said to be furious with Solomona and Tuilagi’s conduct during the camp, however, the Australian has struck a more consolatory tone in recent weeks, telling the Soccerex Global Convention that everyone makes mistakes – but explianed that Tuilagi was now on a final warning.
"Everybody makes bad mistakes, we've all done it. So we'll just assess them at the next period in time," said Jones.
"I've already met one of them face to face and if their attitude is right we'll pick them, if not, we won't. These things happen, it's a poor choice. I understand they made a poor choice.
"He's only done it once with me, the same with Denny. Everybody talks about previous records but he's only done it once with me. If he does it again he'll be spending a lot of time in the Midlands."
The 26-year-old made a long overdue comeback to the Aviva Premiership on Sunday during Leicester Tigers 23-27 defeat against a resurgent Bath – in which he scored the Tigers' opening try.
It was a record breaking opening weekend for the Aviva, 50 tries were scored over the course of the first round smashing the previous record of 36 way back in 2007.
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