International Rugby
Tuilagi could miss start of Six Nations
ESPNscrum Staff
January 4, 2012
England centre Manu Tuilagi runs into space during the Pool B match against Scotland, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, October 1, 2011
Manu Tuilagi is struggling with a hamstring injury © Getty Images

England centre Manu Tuilagi could miss the start of the Six Nations as he struggles to recover from a hamstring injury.

The 20-year-old will be sidelined for a further month and faces a race to be fit for England's opening fixtures against Scotland on February 4 and Italy a week later. Tuilagi suffered the injury during Leicester's victory over Worcester on December 27. He had only recently returned from a broken cheekbone.

"Manu will be out for four to six weeks," said Leicester's director of rugby Richard Cockerill. "It may be a month depending on how his rehab goes."

The Tigers youngster has become an influential figure in England's backline since making his debut against Wales at Twickenham in August. He went on to claim a regular starting slot ahead of Shontayne Hape and played in all five of England's World Cup matches. His eventful tournament ended badly when he was fined for jumping off a ferry in Auckland harbour.

There was further bad news for Leicester and England with confirmation that lock Louis Deacon is also set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. "There will probably be three or four months of recovery time," revealed Cockerill.

"Louis has ruptured a hamstring at the top of a leg and will be out for probably three or four months, pretty much the rest of the season. We may get him back for the tail-end of the campaign, but we don't know exactly yet because it is a really tricky one.

"Louis got his boot caught in the collar of somebody's shirt and did the splits. Something had to give and, unfortunately, it was his hamstring...It's disappointing for him and we'll miss him a lot."

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