Manu Tuilagi terrorises his own England teammates
By Rugby Onslaught

Manu Tuilagi terrorises his own England teammates

Sale Sharks ran riot against the reigning Gallagher Premiership champions Leicester Tigers on Saturday, winning 40-5 at the AJ Bell Stadium to cement their place as one of the top two teams in the league.

The match also marked a return to action for Manu Tuilagi, who had been out with a head injury suffered last month against Ulster in the Heineken Champions Cup.

The England centre showed some glimpses of his top form against his former side, and it was his England teammates that were on the receiving end of some of his carries.

First it was his centre partner Guy Porter, who rushed out the line to meet Tuilagi early on – knowing he can’t let him build up speed – only for the 110kg back to produce to nifty footwork to beat him. Tuilagi then proceeded to pull off a classy one handed offload to Tom O’Flaherty.

Take a look:

Later that half it was scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet who was beaten by Tuilagi, in a slightly more traditional fashion this time. The No9 is not the first player to be sent flying by the British & Irish Lions, and won’t be the last, but he was at least able to slow down his England teammate and aid Dan Kelly in bringing him down just before the line.

Take a look:

Sale Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson singled out Tuilagi’s midfield partner Sam James after the match, lavishing him in praise, as well as scrum-half Joe Simpson, who played the final match of his career.

“Set-pieces were the difference I thought, particularly early on,” Sanderson said. “We really gave it everything with the first couple of scrums and mauls.

“That set the precedent for us and gave us a good, solid platform to build on.

“We needed to rest Sam James last week, he’s been feeling a bit of fatigue so needed a break. He was brilliant tonight, though.

“He’s an unbelievable athlete and he can do most things on a rugby field. He’s really effective.

“That was a really good way to end the year and an even better way to end Joe Simpson’s year.

“We’re delighted for him to finish off with a big win, he’s been a great leader throughout his career and his experience has been invaluable to us in the time he’s been here.

“We all wish him all the best with whatever is next.”