Manu Tuilagi should be on the Lions tour and Warren Gatland will certainly find a way to summon a player whose presence will boost morale within the British and Irish squad.
Just in case anyone has forgotten what impact England’s 30-year-old center can have, he provided a timely reminder Friday night.
When he was released from Sale’s couch, they were under cosh against Bristol, but his arrival triggered a stunning turnaround. The home team had more faith and became more assertive, while the home fans got louder. Tuilagi changed the mood. He can do the same for the lions.
On Friday night, Manu Tuilagi gave Lions selectors one more reason to select him for the tour
The ‘Chief’ came up for sale from the bench against Bristol Bears and took a 22-21 victory
Rugby sales director Alex Sanderson joked about “ Manu Tuilagi’s aura ” but then went on to talk about how he brings the people around him together.
The man they call ‘Chief’ is a popular figure and a positive influence. Everything he does has an infectious exuberance. The grin rarely fades and on Friday he jumped around after helping the Sharks peloton claim a lineout drive.
“Everyone knows he’s one of the world’s best players, but he’s just a really nice guy,” Sanderson said.
Earlier in the week, he’d talked about Tuilagi’s shape after eight months of recovering from a severe Achilles tendon.
Tuilagi is showing signs of being back at his best after eight months out with an Achilles tendon
He called him a “bull” and said he had been so “scary” during training that he had to tell him to take it easy.
Tuilagi remains a rare force of nature, inspiring the men next to him and sowing fear in the opposition. He has bewitched the All Blacks and all newcomers in his day.
He looms up so big in the minds of defenders that it creates space for others – another reason why players are so happy to have him with them.
Tuilagi not only provides strength, but also leaves room for other players in his team
Despite so many injuries, Tuilagi is still in love with the game. He just wants the ball and he wants to make dents in the defense. When he’s in good shape, he can still be almost unstoppable.
Gatland must consider the likely ripple effect if he manages to summon the Anglo-Samoan wrecking ball in midfield.
The player’s cheerful play will brighten the spirits within a Lions squad forced to operate in a bubble – and its ball-bearing potential could change the tourist’s back line. If they want to fight fire with fire in the face of Springbok’s physicality, he’s just the weapon they need.
Increase the Lions’ team size as needed. Just pick it.
The return of the crowds makes for a carnival climb in the domestic season.
There is a sense that fans lucky enough to claim the limited tickets recognize the obligation to make their presence felt on behalf of anyone who continues to be denied entry.
The return of fans to stadiums this weekend has created a brilliant atmosphere on the grounds
Sale had only a few thousand fans behind them at AJ Bell Stadium, but the atmosphere was rawly partisan.
And at the Stoop on Saturday, Joe Marler could barely hear the questions in a post-game interview over the noise of cheering Quins supporters.
Reopening stands evokes welcome zeal. Long may it go on.
Big drama in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman last weekend when an Australian team finally won a game against a New Zealand team.
Queensland Reds managed to beat the visiting Waikato Chiefs 40-34 in Townsville, to briefly interrupt the Kiwi’s dominance of the mismatched event.
Queensland Reds became the first Australian team to beat a New Zealand team in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman this weekend
However, yesterday’s victory for the Otago Highlanders over Melbourne Rebels put the number of wins between the country’s franchises at 14-1 in favor of the New Zealanders.
No wonder they cast doubt on the value of the tournament.
Shaunagh Brown enjoyed a major milestone for Harlequins and women’s rugby after winning the Allianz Premier 15s Final at Kingsholm on Sunday.
The prop was named player of the match because Quins – who lost the finalists in the previous two seasons – beat the title holder Saracens 25-17 thanks to two tries from Amy Cokayne and five penalties from Lagi Tuima.
Shaunagh Brown was player of the match when Harlequins won the Allianz Premier 15s final
“It must mean a lot because I’m crying and I’m not really crying,” said Brown. As they say, third time luck, but no luck was involved. It has been hard work all season. ‘
It was a positive showcase of the competition in front of 2,000 spectators and Brown added: ‘This isn’t just about rugby, it’s about women’s sport. It’s about putting us on a platform and knowing we can do it.
“I dare anyone to say that women’s rugby is not good enough, because we are.”
Sale’s win over Bristol confirmed their place in the Premier League playoffs for the first time since they won the title in 2006 and the latest evidence suggests the Cheshire club must be seen as real contenders to win the league.
Their first half elimination of the Bears at AJ Bell Stadium was a defensive masterclass of tenacity, ferocity and unity. Rugby director Alex Sanderson called it an ‘epic, epic, extraordinary effort’.
Sale Sharks beat Bristol on Friday night to secure their place in the Premiership playoffs
Conceived by defense coach Mike Forshaw, Sale’s ambush of the front runners was the kind of feat that wins games with high stakes and knockout.
In contrast, Harlequins qualified for the playoffs by inciting a riot against Bath, but their defensive failures are a glaring problem. Allowing 33 tries in five games suggests a vulnerability likely to come to light, while Marcus Smith cannot afford to miss five shots on target, as he did on Saturday.
Bristol and Exeter remain favorites for a showdown in the final, but whoever faces Sale will be wary of their resilience and strength, especially when Jono Ross, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Lood de Jager are available in the coming weeks. come as expected.