Leicester Tigers: Fit-again Manu Tuilagi 'lifts spirits'

Manu Tuilagi
Tuilagi has 25 England caps since making his debut in 2011

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill says the presence of fit-again centre Manu Tuilagi was enough to lift the Tigers in Friday's 22-16 win over Harlequins.

England international Tuilagi started against Quins having missed three games with a groin injury.

The Tigers had failed to win a match in the 23-year-old's absence.

"You put Manu on the teamsheet and it hurts the opposition and lifts the morale of the team and the confidence of the side," Cockerill told BBC Sport.

"Manu is world class, he hadn't played for a few weeks and he looked good, looked fit - he came back in good nick."

Winning with Manu
Tigers have not lost a match this season with Tuilagi in the starting line-up, with Leicester beating Newcastle and Exeter before the England international was injured.

Tigers, who avoided losing four consecutive Premiership games for the first time since October 2003, were also boosted by the return of prop Marcos Ayerza after international duties with Argentina.

Cockerill, who insisted he "did not want or need" any reassurances over his position prior to the visit of Quins, also praised dual-code international Brad Thorn for his influence on his first match at Welford Road.

"Brad Thorn had a big game again," said Cockerill. "Across the board, Blaine Scully, Julian Salvi, Jordan Crane battled really hard.

"I'm pleased for all the players and for the club because we had a lot of stick. From top to bottom we stuck together and worked through it.

"The attitude of the players to work, and to keep working, they did it well against Harlequins. The supporters, players and club as a whole showed great attitude as we all pulled together."

Top Stories