Tuilagi comeback against Ulster?

Date published: October 9 2014

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Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill hopes to have England centre Manu Tuilagi back for the Champions Cup opener against Ulster.

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill hopes to have England centre Manu Tuilagi back for the Champions Cup opener against Ulster.

Tuilagi has been battling with a groin injury, missing Leicester’s last three matches against Bath, London Irish and Gloucester – which conincidentally have all ended in defeat.

The 23-year-old is one of several Leicester players currently out of action, with the total reaching 21 at one stage this season.

Cockerill though is cautious about causing Tuilagi or any player further damage by rushing them back early.

“You’ve just got to put guys out there when they’re right. You have to do the right thing by the player,” said Cockerill.

“We hope to get Manu back on the field for the Ulster game. And you’d like to think that some of those other midfielders, certainly at inside centre, will get back on their feet for Ulster.

“Every time we get a body back it’s a boost for the team. What you underestimate sometimes is that when the opposition see your team list, and you’ve got 15 guys missing, it encourages them even more.

“When you put a full side out and a full bench, suddenly psychologically it looks a bit harder.”

Cockerill also knows the threat that Ulster pose, have come up against them several times in Europe in recent years.

“We certainly know how difficult it will be against Ulster next week. We’ve struggled to get past them in the last few years in Europe,” added Cockerill.

“Last year we were 10 points up with 20 minutes to go and we managed to lose by three and that cost us a home quarter-final.

“They’ve had some coaching and personnel changes over the summer, but Ulster are Ulster, just like Leicester are Leicester – on the big day, you know they’ll come up with the goods.

“We’ve got them first up at Welford Road and, clearly, we’ve not been in the best of form and we’ll need to make sure we’re right on it. For those big European days at Welford Road, we need to make sure we bring it and we’ll certainly need to bring it a week on Saturday.”

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