Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


Tuilagi grateful for Test chance

06th July 2013 07:21



Over the moon: Manu Tuilagi

British and Irish Lions centre Manu Tuilagi has expressed his gratitude at getting a Test chance after being injured on tour.

Tuilagi suffered a shoulder injury against the Queensland Reds nearly a month ago, but has recovered and found himself on the bench for the third and final Test between the Lions and Australia in Sydney.

With the series on the line, Tuilagi admitted he was over the moon to be named in the 23-man squad after missing out on the first two Tests.

Having been fortunate enough to make a recovery whilst on tour, the Leicester Tigers centre is now insistent on making the most of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"It's a stressful feeling because you never know if you are in the team or not. The coaches give nothing away, and that is to ensure you are in the right mindset for the game," said Tuilagi to the Leicester Mercury.

"When I heard my name, I was over the moon. There were a lot of players who were disappointed not to be selected, but you put aside your own disappointment because the focus is on the match 23.

"I will play my normal game. I will try to have an impact from the bench, but I won't put any added pressure on myself.

"Making the Lions squad was an unbelievable feeling in the first place, but to be named in the Test squad is a massive achievement.

"Just to be here is incredible, because I was sure my tour was over after the second game. Thank God I am still here.

"We knew this was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we want to make the most of it."