Manusamoa Tuilagi (born 18 May 1991) is an English professional rugby union player who currently plays for Aviva Premiership side Leicester Tigers and previously England. He plays as a centre. Despite his youth and his being a back, traditionally the "small" players on a rugby pitch, Tuilagi is the strongest player in the England squad, with the ability to bench press over 200 kg (over 440 lb).

He was selected to play for the British and Irish Lions on their 2013 tour to Australia.


Manu is the younger brother of Henry Tuilagi, Freddie Tuilagi, Alesana Tuilagi, Anitelea Tuilagi and Sanele Vavae Tuilagi, all of whom are Samoan internationals. He has another brother, born Olotuli, who is fa'afafine and goes by the name of Julie. Manu is the only one of the seven brothers to have played for England internationally.

Club career

Tuilagi represented Leicester in the Middlesex Sevens at Twickenham in 2009. The team only made it out of the first round, having beaten London Wasps.

Tuilagi played for the victorious Leicester Tigers side against South Africa at Welford Road on 6 November 2009.

He began his first season (2010–11) with the senior Tigers side with plenty of promise. Tigers Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill said that he expected Tuilagi to be a first-team regular and to play for England before long. During this season he started the majority of games for Tigers' and was called up for England Saxons duty. In Leicester's Premiership semi-final against Northampton Saints on 14 May 2011, Tuilagi received a yellow card for punching Chris Ashton. Tuilagi was later cited for this offence, and given a 10-week ban, later reduced to five weeks.

A number of injuries restricted Tuilagi to only 14 1st team appearances over the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons. After injuring his hamstring in late 2014, Manu would not play for the Tigers again until January 2016, making his comeback off the bench in the 30-27 East Midlands derby win over Northampton Saints.

International career

Tuilagi said he would prefer to play internationally for England, where he had grown up and played all of his rugby. He was selected to start the England Saxons game against Italy 'A' in January 2011, scoring a second-half try in a match which England won 45-17. In June 2011 he was named in England's training squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

In addition Tuilagi has been involved with the England Sevens squad. In May 2010 he represented an "England VII" in the London Floodlit Sevens, playing under the 'Dig Deep England' banner. In helping England retain their title, UR7s said that he had "made the biggest impact against Saracens (in the final) combining brutal power with subtle offloads".

On 4 August 2011, Tuilagi's England début was confirmed for the World Cup warm-up match against Wales at Twickenham on 6 August 2011. He duly started and scored a try in the 44th minute underneath the post, after an inside pass from Jonny Wilkinson. He then played in the third warm-up game, a victory over Ireland, and scored again. He was a regular starter during the World Cup.

One of his most outstanding international performances came at the final match of the 2012 Autumn Internationals, where England faced the World Champion All Blacks at Twickenham. England scored 3 tries in this match, beating the All Blacks 38-21 - their largest ever winning margin over the New Zealand team. Tuilagi featured in all 3 tries, providing the scoring pass to fellow centre Brad Barritt in the first instance, powering through several All Black players to deliver the try-scoring pass to Chris Ashton for the second, and then taking the final try himself after intercepting a pass from Kieran Read.

Tuilagi was named as part of the Lions squad for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia. Tuilagi played 3 non-test matches (against Western Force, Queensland Reds and Melbourne Rebels) and also played in the 3rd and final test match against the Wallabies, when he came on as a substitute in the 69th minute.

Tuilagi returned to the England squad in March 2016 for the 2016 Six Nations Championship after not playing for the national side due to injury and disciplinary reasons since June 2014.

Tuilagi was ruled out for the 2016 England rugby union tour of Australia due to injury.

Personal life

In June 2010, Tuilagi faced deportation from the United Kingdom after it emerged that he had entered the country on a holiday visa six years earlier and had stayed on illegally. After an appeal, he was later granted indefinite leave to remain.

In the aftermath of England's 2011 World Cup exit to France, Tuilagi was detained by New Zealand police and subsequently fined £3000 by the England team for jumping into Auckland harbour from a ferry.

In September 2013 he issued an apology to Prime Minister David Cameron after making a "bunny ears" sign behind his back during a visit by the British and Irish Lions squad to Downing Street.

He is Catholic.

In May 2015, Tuilagi was convicted of assaulting two female police officers and a taxi driver. English coach Stuart Lancaster subsequently announced that Tuilagi would not be selected for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.