Alex Sanderson says he hopes to have Manu Tuilagi fit again in 6-8 weeks after the Sharks centre picked up a hamstring injury scoring for England in the win against South Africa at the weekend.
Manu went down clutching his leg after diving over for England’s first try in the Twickenham win, which also score Raffi Quirke score his first international try.
And speaking ahead of Sunday’s Premiership clash against Saracens (BT Sport, 3pm KO) the Sharks Director of Rugby confirmed the 30 year old has suffered a grade three hamstring tear and is seeing a specialist to determine whether he’ll need surgery.
Alex said: “Poor Manu. I’m gutted for him and I’m gutted personally too because I thought we were managing him well.
“It’s a grade three tear and we’re waiting for him to see a specialist to find out if he needs an operation.
“We hope, and we think, that it won’t come to that. If it doesn’t need surgery, then I’m told it’ll be 6-8 weeks. If it does, it will be months – probably 12 weeks.”
In his pre-match media briefing Alex was asked whether strapping on Manu’s leg suggested he was carrying an injury going into the game, which England won 27-26.
But Alex insisted he wasn’t pointing any fingers.
He said: “The communications between our physios and strength and conditioning guys and vice versa are wide open, transparent and honest. They know exactly how much loading he does on a weekly basis. I can’t dictate or assume a group of people with over 100 years of medical experience.
“Apparently a scan showed a grade zero hamstring tear and I believe we’ve been shown evidence of that. I have confidence that they wouldn’t have pushed him if anything had showed up.
“I’m frustrated – of course I am. But it’s not England’s fault because all the medical evidence suggests that this is a one-off injury.”
Manu has been near-ever present for Sharks this season after returning from a long-term achilles injury and had featured in England’s two previous games in the Autumn International series.
And Alex said he’s taking the latest setback in his stride.
He added: “It’s not career threatening – it’s not even season threatening. He’ll have a few weeks off to recover and then hopefully he’ll be back before the next international duty.
“It shouldn’t affect the back end of the season for him which will be big for us and for England.
“He’s not a 24-25 year old playing his first international games, he’s had injuries before and he’s taken this in his stride.”