Asked if he will be at the next Rugby World Cup in 2023, Manu Tuilagi sighs. “I’ll be too old, mate. Yeah, I feel it.” Too old? Tuilagi would be only 32 at the 2023 tournament in France, but right now he feels more like 52. He can still bust up a defense, though. He’s been so beaten up by injuries that he has to do 30 minutes of warmups before he can consider doing team drills. “Ice baths, massage, Pilates, I just try and keep everything loose, especially after games and training,” he says. His body was everything but loose for more than four years. Hobbled by injuries, the most serious to his groin, he despaired he’d ever play again. But so enticing was the promise of what Tuilagi could do when he was free of injury – “He can demolish the All Blacks,” England coach Eddie Jones once said – that Jones indulged Tuilagi’s lengthy rap sheet to keep a ticket for him to this Rugby World Cup in Japan. When the groin, the knees, and the hamstrings were finally all functioning without problems a year ago, he came off the bench against Australia at Twickenham last November… Read full this story
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