Manu Tuilagi hid groin injury that left him unable to walk
England vs Ireland is live on Sky Sports Action this Saturday; kick-off 3pm
By PA Media
Last Updated: 21/08/19 11:26pm
Manu Tuilagi has admitted hiding the early stages of the groin injury that almost ended his career back in 2014.
The England centre revealed he strapped himself up in secret and played through the pain for five games, keeping the injury from Leicester's physios and coaches.
Tuilagi was applying tape to his groin and pubic bone until he felt a "loud pop" in a European match against Ulster that left him unable to walk.
He won just two caps between 2014 and 2019 amid a catalogue of setbacks, and he even sought the services of a witch doctor to help end his injury curse.
Now fully fit and back in the England set-up ahead of the World Cup, the 28-year-old laid bare his folly in ignoring his body's natural warning signs five years ago.
"You just think, 'I am never going to get injured', even if it hurts you think, 'I will be alright'. That is a lesson," said Tuilagi. "With my groin, I played five games with it being really painful. It was stupid.
"It was the start of the season in 2014. I pulled my adductor but I had no idea what an adductor felt like if you pulled it. I did it on the Thursday, played on the Saturday and strapped it up. I played five games with it and it went higher and higher into my groin.
"At one stage I started strapping my pubis. The physio was like, 'What are you doing?', I said: 'Er, nothing'. In the fifth game, I got the ball in the first 20 minutes, went to accelerate and bang, there was a pop, a loud pop and I just couldn't walk.
"I had pretty much dislocated my pubic bone. I guess I wasn't honest with the physios, but also I didn't really know what it was. I didn't tell the physios. I would say, 'It is a bit sore'. It got to that point where you are running and trying to just take the pain."
Tuilagi could have almost doubled his 34 England caps but for his horrid run of injuries across the last five years. Asked how different the last five years could have been, Tuilagi said: "I ask that myself at times but I don't regret anything.
"Whatever happened there has got me here now. Of course, it would have been different."
England face Ireland in their next Quilter International on Saturday at Twickenham live on Sky Sports Action. They also face Italy (September 6) in Newcastle as part of their Summer Internationals, all on Sky Sports.