Rugby Union

Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi is a doubt for England's summer tour because of a hamstring injury .

England star Manu Tuilagi suffers hamstring woe as Saracens beat Leicester

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England face an anxious wait to discover the severity of Manu Tuilagi's hamstring injury after the Leicester centre limped off in Saturday's 44-17 Aviva Premiership semi-final defeat by Saracens.

Tuilagi lasted just 20 minutes of the showdown at Allianz Park after damaging his right leg while attempting to ankle-tap wing Chris Wyles and his fitness will be assessed over the next 48 hours.

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The 25-year-old has been plagued by injury over the past two years, returning from a long-term groin issue in January only to then suffer further problems to his knee and hamstring that resulted in further lay-offs.

England head coach Eddie Jones names his squad of 32 or 33 players on Sunday for next month's tour to Australia, with Tuilagi's participation in the three-Test series now shrouded in uncertainty.

Adding to Jones' concerns is a rib complaint sustained by Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell, another midfielder who is a certainty to face the Wallabies if fit.

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"Manu has pulled his hamstring. I don't know how bad it is, but it's not great. We'll assess it over the next couple of days," Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill said.

"We don't know if he's out of the tour, we'll see how he gets on in the next 48 hours before assessing how bad it is.

"It happens. He's a powerful athlete and he's tweaked his hamstring. That's life, he'll get over it.

"It's not ideal because he came off pretty quickly. It doesn't look brilliant, but we'll see."

Farrell departed after receiving two heavy tackles in quick succession and his fitness is also in doubt ahead of Saracens' appearance in next Saturday's Premiership final and the England visit to Australia.

"I don't how serious it is. He's got a bang on the rib and you know ribs can go one way or another. Hopefully it goes the right way," Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said.

Cockerill refused to blame Tuilagi's early exit for the result, but once again expressed his dislike for the artificial surface at Allianz Park.

"If you get more purchase on the pitch, you put more force through your body and that causes more problems," Cockerill said.

"I'm not a fan of the artificial pitches at all. For me they could take them all out and make every Premiership side have a DESSO field (grass mixed with natural fibres) or a proper grass one that's mixed so that you have a good surface for the whole year.

"For me artificial pitches are not for rugby union, there should be minimum standards of grass pitches across the Premiership. Rugby should be played on grass.

"My own opinion is that artificial pitches are not great for the body, but I'm sure you could find an argument either way.

"If you lose Manu that will affect you because he's world class, but that wasn't the deciding factor in the game. They played better than us and deserved to win."

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Topics:
Aviva Premiership
Owen Farrell
Leicester Tigers
Rugby Union
Saracens
Manu Tuilagi

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