Manu Tuilagi has pulled out of the England squad after sustaining an injury in the Premiership semi-final


Manu Tuilagi has withdrawn from the England squad due to a tight hamstring sustained during Sale Sharks’ Premiership semi-final loss to Exeter Chiefs.

The 30-year-old centre, who was assessed by his club and did not travel to the Lensbury training base in Teddington, will be replaced by Fraser Dingwall of Northampton Saints.

Tuilagi had been named as the most experienced member of an updated 36-man group to prepare for a fixture against Scotland A on Sunday at Welford Road.

Having been yellow-carded by referee Tom Foley for a high tackle on Exeter flanker Richard Capstick at the weekend, his withdrawal comes after the window for a possible citing – and a potential ban – has passed. Those reviewing the incident evidently did not believe it to have reached the threshold of a red card.

Theoretically, with England also facing USA and Canada in July, any suspension would have included these summer fixtures, rather than any at the start of next season, were Tuilagi in a position to play.

Capstick could not continue after Tuilagi’s tackle, which occurred in the opening five minutes, and Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter used his post-match interview with broadcaster BT Sport to address his gripes with the Rugby Football Union’s disciplinary process.

“We’ve got two players serving four-week bans now for two instances last week that didn’t even require a HIA,” Baxter said of the bans dished out to Dave Ewers and Sam Skinner following Exeter’s win over Sale the previous week for high tackles on Simon Hammersley and Faf de Klerk.

“Both of their lads [involved in the tackles] were out there playing. We had a guy wiped out in the first two minutes of the game [today]. He can take no further part in the game, and it’s [only] a yellow card.

“If someone can tell me that it’s making any sense to anybody who is involved in the game… I don’t know what sense it is making.”