Having re-injured a hamstring during the recent Guinness Six Nations, the midfielder returned to action for his club in April and was involved in the international squad’s three-day training camp held by Eddie Jones last month in London.
At the time, Jones was fully confident that Tuilagi was shaping up nicely to be included by England to take on the Wallabies in their three-Test series, the coach commenting: “He was looking very fit and enthusiastic and he really wants to make an imprint in this Australian tour. Our job with Sale is to get him physically right and ready to go.”
Jones was speaking on May 17, the day after he had visited Tuilagi and the other England players at Sale prior to the start of the national training camp the following Sunday. That was a trip that delighted Sharks boss Alex Sanderson but their collective hopes that Tuilagi was on course for the tour have now been dashed.
A club statement on Thursday morning read: “Sale Sharks can confirm that Manu Tuilagi has undergone a routine procedure on his knee which will rule the 31-year-old out of this summer’s England tour to Australia.
“The club, in close consultation with England Rugby, have decided that a summer of rest and a full pre-season is the best course of action to ensure Manu is fit and available for Sale Sharks and England during a crucial year for both club and country. Everyone at the club wishes Manu all the best for his recovery and looks forward to seeing him at Carrington for the start of pre-season.”