Manu Tuilagi will play no part for England on their summer tour to Australia after withdrawing due to yet more injury problems. The powerful centre limped out of Leicester Tigers' heavy 44-17 Aviva Premiership semi-final defeat to European champions Saracens at Allianz Park on Saturday (21 May), after appearing to sustain a hamstring problem.
That latest blow rendered Tuilagi a doubt for the three-Test trip next month, yet he still featured in Eddie Jones' 32-man travelling party named less than 24 hours later. However, England have now confirmed the 25-year-old's withdrawal on medical advice after he underwent a scan on Monday.
"It's bad luck for Manu so close to the tour but it provides a great opportunity for someone else," head coach Jones said. "We wish Manu all the best and a quick recovery."
England further revealed that they will not name a replacement for Tuilagi until after their clash with Wales at Twickenham on 29 May. With Leinster's Worcester-bound former Samoan rugby league international Ben Te'o already in the squad, Jones has confirmed that either Ollie Devoto, who is set to join Exeter Chiefs from Bath next season, or Northampton Saints' Luther Burrell will be called up instead.
Both players were yesterday included alongside the likes of Danny Cipriani, Matt Kvesic, Christian Wade and Semesa Rokoduguni in Ali Hepher's 27-man England Saxons squad that will play two matches against South Africa 'A' in June.
Tuilagi has been incredibly unfortunate with injuries over recent seasons, and his 16-minute cameo appearance during a nail-biting 25-21 victory over Wales in March was his first international outing since the tour of New Zealand two years ago. In addition to a severe groin issue, he also missed the start of England's Six Nations campaign with a hamstring strain and hurt his knee during Leicester's European Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Racing 92 last month.
He was also made unavailable for selection before a failed 2015 World Cup campaign on home soil after admitting three charges of assault and one of criminal damage following his arrest in Leicester city centre in April of that year. He later denied assaulting police officers despite pleading guilty, insisting that he "wanted the case done with".