Six Nations 2013: England’s Tuilagi ‘proud’ to play through pain barrier

Six Nations 2013: England's Manu Tuilagi says he never considered leaving the pitch despite his head wound in their France win

Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi says that he never considered leaving the field of play for treatment to a gaping head wound during England’s 23-13 win over France at Twickenham at the weekend.

England medics attempted to remove Tuilagi midway through the Six Nations encounter to administer stitches to a head wound but the Leicester man refused and instead called for a bandage.

At full-time after his man-of-the-match performance and having scored England’s only try of the game to help Stuart Lancaster’s men to a third straight championship win – Tuilagi required 19 stitches, taking 40 minutes of treatment, following the elbow from Louis Picamoles.

“I’m proud I was able to stay on the field,” said Tuilagi. “I told the doc I wasn’t going off.

“My shirt was covered in blood – but I’ll keep it like that to remember this victory.

“It’s the most stitches I’ve ever had for a rugby injury but I didn’t realise how bad it was and it didn’t hurt until after the game.

“I had nine stitches for a broken eye socket and cheekbone, and I was bitten by a dog in Samoa once, that was pretty nasty as well.”

Despite his performance against France, it’s conceivable Tuilagi will be moved to the wing against Italy at Twickenham in two weeks to allow emerging Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees some much-needed international game-time.

“We can always move Manu Tuilagi to the wing, and bring Billy in at centre,” said Lancaster.

“It’s something we’ve been looking at and mulling over for a while, trying Manu on the wing.

“And Billy’s abilities, form and temperament are something we can utilise as well.

“Brad and Manu work extremely well together, but we do want to look at different combinations and try different things.

“We might have a chance to do that in the next game.”

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