Manu Tuilagi should be fit in time for the British and Irish Lions’ tour to South Africa, according to teammate Josh Beaumont.
The England international last played in September, when he got injured in a Gallagher Premiership match between Sale Sharks and Northampton Saints.
Beaumont, who himself recently came back from injury, explained how well the barrelling centre was doing in his injury rehab, while noting his impressive athleticism.
— Sale Sharks 🦈 (@SaleSharksRugby) January 10, 2021
“At the start of his injury we were both rehabbing together. He’s not a good person to rehab with. He’s literally done five calf raises the other day and he’s put on 4cm of muscle mass.
“It’s just depressing looking at him, going ‘that’s not fair’,” Beaumont told RugbyPass.
Tuilagi toured with the Lions in 2013 when they took on Australia, but missed the 2017 tour to New Zealand due to one of the many injuries that has stunted his career.
‘I think he said April, May time’
The Samoan-born centre was a crucial part of the England team that made it to the Rugby World Cup final in 2019 however, and would surely book a place on the plane to South Africa if he rediscovers that form.
His Sale team mate predicted that Tuilagi would be available for the Sharks near the end of the Premiership season, giving him a little bit of time to impress Lions head coach Warren Gatland.
“He’s ticking along alright. He’s doing a lot of boxing with the conditioners. Their shoulders are hurting more than his at the moment.
“He seems in good spirits. Obviously, he wants to be out there playing. He’s had a lot of injuries and knows what the craic is. He’s been there and done it.
“Hopefully we’ll see him [soon]. I’m not sure when he’s going to be back. I think he said April, May time. The run-in until the end of the season, which would be a massive boost for us at the crucial point of the year,” Beaumont said.
While there are doubts lingering over whether the Lions tour will go ahead, Tuilagi could prove to be an excellent foil for the physical Springbok defence.