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Tuilagi's Six Nations and Lions hopes ruined by season-ending knee injury

Leicester Tigers will be without one of their key men for the remainder of the campaign.

MANU TUILAGI HAS been ruled out of rugby for up to nine months after suffering a knee ligament injury in Leicester’s defeat to Saracens during last weekend’s Premiership action.

The injury means that the 25-year-old will miss the 2017 Six Nations and is almost certainly out of contention for this summer’s Lions tour to New Zealand.

Peter O'Mahony tackles Manu Tuilagi Tuilagi on the charge against Munster last month. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

It is a cruel blow for Tuilagi, whose career has been severely hindered by injury problems in recent seasons.

He was sidelined for a period of 15 months from late 2014 until early 2016 with a groin injury, while a similar issue saw him ruled out for a further two months early on in the current campaign.

Tuilagi’s absence will be a major blow to Leicester as they attempt to rescue their season, while England coach Eddie Jones will also be disappointed to lose a player he had named in his Six Nations training squad.

Samoa native Tuilagi has won 26 England caps since 2011, while also earning a cap for the Lions on the 2013 tour of Australia.

Tuilagi has played just once for England since Jones came on board as head coach, featuring off the bench in the Six Nations meeting with Wales last year.

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Murray Kinsella

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