Manu Tuilagi

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Manu Tuilagi
Manu Tuilagi cropped.jpg
Argentina vs England at 2011 Rugby World Cup
Birth nameEtuale Manusamoa Tuilagi
Date of birth (1991-05-18) 18 May 1991 (age 28)
Place of birthFogapoa, Savai'i, Samoa
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Weight114 kg (17 st 13 lb; 251 lb)[2]
SchoolJohn Cleveland College
Notable relative(s)Anitelea Tuilagi (brother)
Alesana Tuilagi (brother)
Henry Tuilagi (brother)
Sanele Vavae Tuilagi (brother)
Freddie Tuilagi (brother)
Occupation(s)Professional rugby union player
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre
Current team Leicester Tigers
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2009–Present Leicester Tigers 123 (195)
Correct as of 5 May 2019
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2011 England Saxons 3 (5)
2011–Present England 31 (65)
2013 British and Irish Lions 1 (0)
Correct as of 9 March 2019

Etuale Manusamoa 'Manu' Tuilagi (born 18 May 1991)[3] is a rugby union player who currently plays for Leicester Tigers in the Premiership, and has played internationally for England and the British and Irish Lions. Born in Fogapoa, Samoa, Tuilagi has five older brothers who played for Samoa.

He qualified for England through residency, having moved there as a teenager, and has won 32 caps between 2011 and 2019, including playing in the 2011 World Cup. He played for the Lions on their 2013 tour to Australia, winning one cap. His usual position is centre, but he has also played as a wing.

Early life[edit]

Tuilagi was born on 18 May 1991 in Fogapoa, Samoa. He is the younger brother of Henry Tuilagi, Freddie Tuilagi, Alesana Tuilagi, Anitelea Tuilagi and Sanele Vavae Tuilagi, all of whom are Samoan internationals and also played for Leicester. He has another brother, born Olotuli, who is fa'afafine and goes by the name of Julie.[4] He was named Manusamoa, after the name of the Samoan national team, the Manu Samoa, because his brother Freddie was selected for Samoa at the World Cup in 1991, the year Manu was born.[5]

He moved to the UK to join his brothers, and began playing youth rugby in 2004 with Rumney RFC while living in Cardiff, when his brother Freddie was playing for the Cardiff Blues. Aged 15, he moved back to Leicester, joining the Leicester Tigers academy.[4]

In June 2010, Tuilagi faced possible deportation from the UK after it became known that he had entered the country on a holiday visa six years earlier and had stayed on illegally.[6] After an appeal, he was later granted indefinite leave to remain.[7] He and Alesana are both Catholic.[8][9]

Playing career[edit]

Leicester Tigers[edit]

Tuilagi represented Leicester in the Middlesex Sevens at Twickenham in 2009. The team only made it out of the first round, having beaten London Wasps.[citation needed]

On 6 November 2009 Tuilagi played for Leicester Tigers against South Africa at Welford Road, Leicester won 22-17.[10]

He began his first season, 2010–11, with the senior Tigers side. Tigers Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill said that he expected Tuilagi to be a first-team regular and to play for England before long.[11] During this season he started the majority of games for Tigers and was called up for England Saxons duty. In Leicester's Premiership semi-final against Northampton Saints on 14 May 2011, Tuilagi received a yellow card for punching Chris Ashton. Tuilagi was later cited for this offence, and given a 10-week ban, later reduced to five weeks.[12]

After injuring his hamstring in late 2014, Manu would not play for the Tigers again until January 2016[citation needed], making his comeback off the bench in the 30-27 East Midlands derby win over Northampton Saints. He played for the rest of the 2015/16 season. However, his injury problems continued and he was sidelined for most of the 2016/17 season with knee problems, making his comeback in the first game of the 2017/18, only to suffer a new injury to his other knee. In a bid to cure his injury problems Tuilagi visited a Samoan witch doctor in November 2017, the witch doctor claimed to have found three spirits had married Tuilagi and were causing the injuries, and massaged Tuilagi for two hours a day for four days to block the spirits.[13][14][15]


Tuilagi said he would prefer to play internationally for England, where he had grown up and played all of his rugby. He was selected to start the England Saxons game against Italy 'A' in January 2011,[16] scoring a second-half try in a match which England won 45-17.[17] In June 2011 he was named in England's training squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

In addition, Tuilagi has been involved with the England Sevens squad. In May 2010 he played for an England seven which won the London Floodlit Sevens, playing under the name 'Dig Deep England'.

On 6 August 2011, he made his England début in the World Cup warm-up match against Wales at Twickenham on 6 August 2011.[18] He duly started and scored a try in the 44th minute underneath the posts, after an inside pass from Jonny Wilkinson. He then played in the third warm-up game, a victory over Ireland, and scored again. He was a regular starter during the World Cup. One of his strongest international performances came in the final match of the 2012 Autumn internationals, against the World Cup winners New Zealand at Twickenham. England won 38-21 - their largest ever winning margin over the All Blacks. Tuilagi featured in all three of England's tries.

Tuilagi was named in the Lions squad for their 2013 tour to Australia.[19] He played against Western Force, Queensland Reds and Melbourne Rebels, and also played in the third test against the Wallabies, when he came on as a substitute in the 69th minute.

Tuilagi returned to the England squad in March 2016 for the 2016 Six Nations Championship after not playing for the national side due to injury and disciplinary reasons since June 2014.[20] He was ruled out of England's tour of Australia due to an injury suffered in a Premiership semifinal loss against Saracens.[21]

Tuilagi returned to the England team in 2018 and came off the bench in a 37-18 against Australia to win his 28th cap.

After a string of strong performances for club team Leicester Tigers, Tuilagi was included in the England Six Nations squad that ultimately finished in 2nd, runners up to grand slam winners Wales.

Disciplinary issues[edit]

Tuilagi has been involved in a number of incidents that have affected his playing career.[22] In 2011 he was banned for five weeks for repeatedly punching Chris Ashton in the Premiership semifinal between Leicester and Northampton.

During the 2011 World Cup he was fined £4,800 after wearing a sponsored mouthguard, breaking the tournament's rules. In the aftermath of England's exit from the World Cup after losing to France, he was arrested by New Zealand police for jumping into Auckland harbour from a ferry, and was subsequently fined £3,000 by the RFU.[23]

In September 2013, he issued an apology to Prime Minister David Cameron after making a "bunny ears" sign behind his back during a visit by the Lions squad to Downing Street.[24]

In May 2015, Tuilagi was convicted of assaulting two female police officers and a taxi driver, and fined £6,205. England coach Stuart Lancaster subsequently announced that Tuilagi would not be considered for selection until January 2016, thus missing the 2015 World Cup.[25]

In August 2017, after rejoining the England squad after a series of injuries, he returned to the team hotel drunk with teammate Denny Solomona, and they were sent home by coach Eddie Jones.[26] Tuilagi was not selected in England's initial squad for the 2018 Six Nations.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Manu Tuilagi (Centre) - Leicester Tigers". Leicester Tigers.
  3. ^ "Maun Tuilagi ESPN profile". ESPN. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Mark Bailey (25 January 2013). "Manu Tuilagi, England rugby's wrecking ball". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Leicester Tigers player is refused leave to stay in the UK". Leicester Mercury. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  7. ^ "Rising star at Leicester Tigers wins fight against deportation". Leicester Mercury. 7 July 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  8. ^ Chris Foy (8 April 2011). "Leicester's Tuilagi brothers calling on God to see off BOD in Heineken cup clash". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  9. ^ Mick Cleary (8 April 2011). "Leicester powerhouse Manu Tuilagi beat deportation threat so Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll holds no fear". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  10. ^ Hands, David (7 November 2009). "South Africans forced to bow to Leicester's youth rally". London: Times Online. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
  11. ^ "Manu Tuilagi backed to play for England at next World Cup". Leicester Mercury. 14 August 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
  12. ^ "Leicester's Manu Tuilagi cited for punches on Ashton". BBC Online. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
  13. ^ "A witchdoctor found three lady spirits who had married onto me". The Times. 9 November 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Witch-doctor has banished my injury curse, says Manu Tuilagi". The Guardian. 9 November 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Manu Tuilagi: 'I saw a witchdoctor to fix the injuries hospitals cannot cure'". The Daily Telegraph. 9 November 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  16. ^ Gallagher, Brendan (27 January 2011). "Samoan-born Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi to make England Saxons debut against Italy A". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  17. ^ "England Saxons 45 Italy A 17". Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  18. ^ "Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi to make England debut". BBC News. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  19. ^ Paul Rees (30 April 2013). "Jonny Wilkinson turned down Lions chance, says Warren Gatland". London: Guardian. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  20. ^ "Six Nations 2016: Manu Tuilagi in England squad for Wales game".
  21. ^ "Manu Tuilagi out of England's tour to Australia".
  22. ^ Crime & punishment: Manu Tuilagi adds to lengthy rap sheet
  23. ^ "England fine Manu Tuilagi for ferry jump". BBC News. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  24. ^ Mairs, Gavin (17 September 2013). "Manu Tuilagi forced to apologise for playing prank on Prime Minister David Cameron in No 10 visit". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  25. ^ Kitson, Robert (15 May 2015). "England's Manu Tuilagi to miss Rugby World Cup after assaulting police officer" – via
  26. ^ Manu Tuilagi’s England return in doubt after drunken night out at camp

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