Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi has ruled himself out of England’s summer tour to South Africa, handing Eddie Jones another headache.
‘I couldn’t expect to be part of the summer tour to South Africa, I was going well until I did my pec and that meant another four or five weeks out,’ said Tuilagi.
‘The World Cup is always in the back of your mind, for any player you want to play well for your club and then your country.
‘But the emphasis for me at the minute is focusing on getting fit and staying fit, and I just want to enjoy playing rugby. If I do that, the rest should look after itself.
‘I don’t think I am up there yet or good enough to be in that team, so I’ll get ready for next season.
‘Now we are at the end of the season that pre-season will be a really important one, and I want to work on my game, my skills and my physicality.
‘When I come back I want to have a run of games and show some good form. Eddie Jones always picks his players on form, and I need to play and keep playing.’
England are already facing a personnel shortage, with Dylan Hartley, Anthony Watson, Courtney Lawes, Nathan Hughes and Sam Underhill among the casualties.