Rugby Union

Tuilagi has not started a test match for England since 2014,.

The moment Manu Tuilagi showed England fans he was back v Australia

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Manu Tuilagi has made his long-awaited England return against Australia, wasting no time in showing exactly why he is such a firm favourite amongst fans all around the country. 

The Leicester Tigers centre, who had previously made 26 appearances for England prior to his over two-year hiatus from the national side, came off the bench against Australia on Saturday night. 

Shortly after doing so, the Samoan-born powerhouse had fans on their feet once again, as he picked up the ball near the half-way line. 

As the crowd roared their appreciation at having their hero back on the field, Tuilagi smashed through his first opponent before sidestepping two more and surging forwards.

Despite being eventually grounded by the combined power of two of his Wallaby opponents, the run epitomised exactly why fans had been so desperate for him to make his return.

Watch the footage here...

The roar of the crowd, and near-universal adulation Manu receives is not just derived from his ever-impressive performances on the pitch, however. Tuilagi has made the headlines for his off-the-pitch antics seemingly as often as he has for his performances. 

In 2011, Tuilagi felt the wrath of then-England coach Martin Johnson, after jumping from a ferry in Auckland the day after England had been eliminated from the World Cup. 

He was also in the papers once again in 2013, after making a bunny ears gesture behind then prime minister David Cameron, during an official photo shoot at Downing Street. 

Tuilagi again found himself in the crosshairs of his International manager once again in 2015, after being convicted of assault on two female police officers and a taxi driver on a night out in 2015. 

Despite his struggles off the pitch, however, it is his infamous sense of humour and ever-optimistic attitude that has made him such a hit with his fans and teammate alike. 

England v Australia - Quilter International

It was also this same attitude that has helped Tuilagi make his return, after the Leicester Tigers man admitted struggling, following a series of repeated serious injuries to his groin, knee, and hamstrings. 

After four long years of repeated rehabilitation and recovery, however, Manu was barely able to contain his excitement upon learning he would represent his country once again, according to teammate Ben Youngs. 

"He's certainly got a big grin on his face," Youngs told the Mirror. "He's very excited! But Manu's like an excited kid at the best of times. This is no different".

Topics:
Manu Tuilagi
England Rugby
Australia Rugby
Rugby Union
Ben Youngs
Leicester Tigers

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