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Manu Tuilagi ruled out of Sale Sharks’ game against Harlequins

Manu Tuilagi Sale

Manu Tuilagi has been ruled out of Sale Sharks’ Gallagher Premiership encounter with Harlequins as he is a close contact of a positive covid case.

Powerful England centre Tuilagi played his first game in eight months last week in Sale’s win over Bristol Bears after recovering from a ruptured achilles tendon and was set to start in his first game since then against Harlequins.

However, Tuilagi will not be available for the Premiership top four clash as he came into close contact with a Sale member of staff that tested positive for covid.

Sale Sharks statement.

“Sale Sharks can confirm that a member of its staff received a positive COVID-19 test during routine lateral flow testing at the club’s Carrington training facility this week,” a statement read.

“As a result, video analysis of training was carried out in line with Premiership Rugby guidelines, and all players who came into contact with that member of staff were directed to self-isolate until further testing could be arranged.

“In consultation with Public Health England a round of drive-through PCR testing was also conducted. That member of staff returned a further positive result and is continuing to isolate.

“There were no additional positive COVID-19 tests and all other players will return to full training next week.

“However, following further investigation it was noted that Manu Tuilagi came into close contact with the affected member of staff.

“As a result, the club will replace him in the matchday squad for the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match against Harlequins on Friday.

“Robert du Preez will take his place in the starting XV, with Aaron Reed taking the South African’s place among the replacements.”

England return on the cards for Tuilagi.

While Tuilagi will not take part in Sale’s game against Harlequins, the Samoan-born centre could feature for England in their tests against the USA and Canada in July.

Tuilagi last played for England against Wales in the 2020 Six Nations, and was shown a red card for a high tackle late on in that game.

The former Leicester Tigers player’s career has been severely hampered by injury problems and would have likely been selected in this year’s British and Irish Lions squad had he been fit.

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