England's Manu Tuilagi could miss the Six Nations tournament through injury
England's Manu Tuilagi could miss next year's Six Nations tournament because of a chest muscle injury.
Last Updated: 12/11/13 5:42pm
The centre tore a pectoral muscle in Leicester's match against Newcastle in September, and Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said Tuilagi is now not expected to return until the end of February.
"Manu Tuilagi has not been able to recover fully from the pec muscle injury with rehab and he had surgery yesterday to repair that," Cockerill said.
"He had a reaction right at the end of the rehab process so that was the right
thing to do. He will be out for probably three months.
"That's disappointing because we hoped to have him back in the next few weeks. It's a blow for him and for us."
England play France at the Stade de France on the opening weekend of the Six Nations on February 1, with fixtures against Scotland and Ireland before the end of that month.
England's final two games are against Wales and Italy on March 9 and 15 respectively.
Tuilagi has played 21 times for England since making his debut against Wales two years ago and featured in the final series-deciding Lions Test against Australia this summer.
Billy Twelvetrees and Joel Tomkins have formed a new-look centre pairing for the autumn internationals, which conclude against New Zealand on Saturday 16 November, live on Sky Sports 1 from 1.30pm.