Manu Tuilagi playing for the Leicester Tigers.
Manu Tuilagi playing for the Leicester Tigers. Nigel French

England star hoping witch doctor has solved injury curse

BRITISH and Irish Lions centre Manu Tuilagi is confident of revitalising his career, believing a witch doctor exorcised three female spirits who wanted his soul.

Suffering from an injury curse, Tuilagi returned to his birth country Samoa after his mother suggested he visit a spiritual healer.

He has battled groin, hamstring and knee injuries over the past three years, limiting his playing time with England and Leicester.

For four days he travelled to the tiny island of Upolu.

"I saw the witch doctor for two hours a day and she said she found what the illness was,” the centre told BT Sport Rugby Tonight.

"She massaged my whole body - all I needed was a towel and a Fijian oil.

"She ... found out that there were three lady spirits who had married themselves on to me for the last three years.

"The witch doctor told me that was why I had been injured. The spirits wanted me for themselves - they wanted to punish me and injuring me was the way to do it. Every time I played - bang!”

Tuilagi now hopes to be back playing in mid-December.

Tuilagi had the blessing of Leicester rugby director Matt O'Connor and physio Ed Hollis.

"I wasn't allowed to sleep in the room by myself so me and (his brother) Alex set up a little camp in the living room in front of the TV,” he said.

"In most of these cases back home, the girls end up taking their victims alive and will never be seen.

"There are male spirits too but the witch doctor said I was too handsome.”

Tuilagi was sent home from an England camp in August by coach Eddie Jones after a late-night drinking session with Denny Solomana.

"Eddie has been OK with me. He was disappointed but we talked and I explained my reasons and he understood,” he said.

"Mentally, it was a factor. It was frustration at not being able to do what I wanted to do on the training pitch and that came into it. But there is no excuse for it, it's unacceptable.”