England and Sale Sharks centre Manu Tuilagi is set to spend up to six weeks on the sidelines due to a broken hand sustained at the recent Rugby World Cup in France, but is still keen to play at Test level in 2024.
Tuilagi was at the forefront of England’s challenge at the recent tournament and helped them finish in third position at the global showpiece.
However, the 59-cap international’s career has been hampered by numerous injuries, which made his future at Test level look uncertain.
“Manu’s got a plate in his hand from a fracture from the World Cup,” Sale director of rugby Sanderson told the Daily Mail.
“He is going to be out for four to six weeks. Knowing Manu, it will be three to five.
Broke his hand twice
“He broke it against Samoa and then broke it again in the third place play-off. It is just collateral damage from playing in the World Cup.
“I asked him: ‘How was it Manu? Are you hanging up your international boots?’
“He was like: ‘You will have to put me down physically, lethally inject me, to stop me playing international rugby’. He is loving it at the moment.”
Tuilagi is unlikely to return to action until at least the start of Sale Sharks’ campaign in the European Champions Cup in December.
Sanderson is also keeping an eye on the fitness of England back-row Tom Curry ahead of Sale’s Premiership clash against Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate on Saturday.
However, England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie is available for selection for that encounter.