Tuilagi reveals ear horror
February 23, 2013
Manu Tuilagi required 19 stitches after England's win over France © Getty Images
Bloodied try-scorer Manu Tuilagi refused to come off after having his left ear partly ripped from the side of his head in the opening minutes of England's brutally physical 23-13 victory over France.
After the match, Tuilagi required 19 stitches, two of which were internal, after he was caught by the elbow of France No.8 Louis Picamoles while making his first tackle of the match. But Tuilagi ordered the team doctor to just bandage up his head and he played on, delivering an outstanding performance as England took a giant step towards their first Grand Slam in a decade.
"It was the first collision of the match," Tuilagi said. "I sparked out for a couple of seconds. I'm not sure if I was knocked out but I was definitely dazed. It is one of the biggest collisions I have ever had.
"I just told the doctor to wrap it up. The doctor was saying I needed stitches but I said, 'No, just tape it up'. I wanted to stay out there and help the team and do anything to contribute to the win.
"They couldn't put temporary stitches in it at half-time because there was too much damage. It would take too long to stitch it so I carried on. It took 40 minutes to do the stitches after the game. I have got 17 on the outside of the ear and two internal stitches."
Tuilagi had been recalled to start opposite the French midfield powerhouse Mathieu Bastareaud and it was the England man who won a bruising contest. With his head swathed in bandages and his shirt bloodied, Tuilagi's try after 54 minutes put England in control of the match.
France had led 10-9 at the interval with an eye-catching try from centre Wesley Fofana but England controlled the final quarter after Tuilagi's 10th Test try.
"That physicality is one part of the game I really enjoy. If it looked physical out there, it felt physical!" Tuilagi said. "It was an amazing feeling scoring a try out there."
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