Sale Sharks will give Manu Tuilagi ‘as long as’ they can to prove fitness for semi-final

Jared Wright
Manu Tuilagi and Sale Sharks boss Alex Sanderson.

Manu Tuilagi and Sale Sharks boss Alex Sanderson.

Sale Sharks boss Alex Sanderson is hopeful that Manu Tuilagi will recover in time to feature for the side in their Premiership semi-final against Bath.

The Bayonne-bound centre limped off the pitch just 17 minutes into their crunch clash with Saracens with a hamstring injury that is threatening his involvement in the play-offs.

Despite the setback of Tuilagi’s injury, Sale powered to an impressive 20-10 victory over Saracens, their first-ever Premiership win over the Londoners at StoneX, thanks to tries from Tom Roebuck and Robert du Preez.

Humpty Dumpty to be given time to put himself back together

Assessing the performance of his charges and the injury of Tuilagi, Sanderson was rather upbeat despite still soaking it all in.

“Reaching the play-offs has not really dawned on me. From where we were post-Six Nations to getting to the top four is a Herculean effort from the lads. They have taken hold of it,” Sanderson said.

“We have definitely got to get Manu checked out. He has definitely pulled his hamstring, we just don’t know how badly.

“He is a quick healer, we know that and we have got two weeks to put Humpty Dumpty back together again and we will give him as long as we can.”

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England pivot George Ford produced another measured performance in what could be his final head-to-head with Owen Farrell in the Premiership ahead of the latter’s move to France.

“George Ford has been phenomenal. You meet players and there are only a couple I have met – Owen Farrell is one – with this type of influence and how he can take a group and turn a group,” the Sale boss added.

“He is tough kid George and he gets stuck in. He was quite aggressive afterwards, he was saying, ‘We are not celebrating this, we are going for Bath’.”

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Mark McCall: We were poor today

Meanwhile, Saracens missed out on the opportunity to clinch a home play-off fixture, meaning the likes of the Farrell and Vunipola brothers played their last games at home for the club.

“We were poor today and played unenthused if we are honest and that is a difficult thing to say with what was at stake,” said director of rugby Mark McCall.

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“You have that little thing in the back of your mind because everything is on the line for them and we had the safety net of already being there and it looked like their want was bigger, you saw how enthusiastic they were and if that is the case, that is disappointing.

“It is not what we wanted. Our number one strength this year as a group has been responding to setbacks and disappointing performances very well and our next performance being really strong.

“We are going to need to do that, there are no more second chances and there won’t be another chance after the next game but we need to see if we can respond to what happened today.”

READ MORE: Six-try Bath come out on top against Northampton Saints to clinch second spot