England centre Manu Tuilagi has been ruled out for six months with a torn Achilles tendon, says Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond.
The 29-year-old was hurt 12 minutes into Sale’s Premiership game at Northampton on Tuesday.
He will miss England’s remaining 2020 Six Nations game with Italy and possibly the entire 2021 tournament.
Tuilagi will also be unavailable for the Autumn Nations Cup, which starts this November.
The former Leicester Tigers back, who moved to AJ Bell Stadium during the summer, will have surgery on the injury next week.
He has played seven games for his new employers, scoring his only try against his former side on his return to Welford Road early last month.
“Manu will be a loss to England and Sale,” said Diamond. “He’ll be out for six months. It’s brutal what we’re playing at the minute.
“Dan Biggar fell on him, so it was an accident. These things happen. I think it might have been a jinx, me saying before the game that we’ve got nine out of nine games out of him and boom, that happens. So I’ll keep my trap shut in future.
“Rather selfishly, after this game and the play-offs we probably wouldn’t have seen Manu until April with the England commitments and EPS rest periods.”
More to follow.