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Six Nations

Third favourites England lose Tuilagi for first two Six Nations matches

Published on December 29, 2023
Written by Chris

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Third favourites England lose Tuilagi for first two Six Nations matches
  • Tuilagi to miss first two Six Nations fixtures
  • Sale centre injured against Saracens
  • Arundell, Farrell and Rodd also unavailable 

England received a further setback ahead of the 2024 Six Nations campaign as centre Manu Tuilagi is expected to miss the early matches due to a grade three tear in his groin. The injury occurred during Sale’s 22-20 Premiership victory over Saracens, sidelining the 32-year-old for a crucial period.

Check out’s top list of the best Six Nations betting sites in the UK and the best Rugby Union bookies.

Tuilagi unavailable for Italy and Wales games

Tuilagi, capped 60 times by England, is likely to be absent for the opening Six Nations encounter against Italy in Rome on February 3, and the subsequent match against Wales at Twickenham. Sale’s director of rugby, Alex Sanderson, provided insights into Tuilagi’s condition, mentioning that surgery won’t be necessary, and the player is determined to return promptly.

Sanderson stated that the recommended recovery time for Tuilagi’s injury is six weeks, but the player is optimistic about a quicker comeback, targeting around four weeks. The final decision on his participation in the Six Nations will ultimately rest with the England coaching staff, who will assess his recovery and fitness closer to the tournament dates.

Tuilagi played a significant role for England in the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, featuring in six matches. Meanwhile, Sale’s prop Bevan Rodd is set to miss the entire Six Nations campaign after undergoing toe surgery, adding to England’s injury concerns. 

England are also set to be without Henry Arundell and Owen Farrell. Arundell is unavailable due to an RFU ruling after he signed for French side Racing 92 while Farrell has withdrawn to focus on the mental wellbeing of himself and his family.

Betting Implications

At the time of writing, England are third favourites for the Six Nations behind France and Ireland. Currently Coral have England priced at 7/1 with the French 11/10 and Ireland 6/5. Scotland and Wales are priced at 16/1 and 20/1 respectively while Italy are outsiders at 500/1.

Tuilagi will hopefully return for the final three fixtures, though his absence will be keenly felt against Italy and Wales. Rodd’s absence will also be a blow.

Arundell may not be an automatic choice, but he is a big favourite among the fanbase and has the ability to to turn a match. At 21 he is very much viewed as part of England’s future. His absence will greatly reduce Steve Borthwick’s side’s options.

Farrell, meanwhile, is an important player for England as a leader and as a playmaker from fly-half. His absence from the Six Nations campaign will undoubtedly be a blow to England’s hopes. However, despite Farrell’s superb performances he has, at times, divided opinion among the fanbase with some believing that the team have looked better with George Ford at fly-half and that Ford and Farrell do not gel in the same line-up. 

Bettors need to assess the impact of Tuilagi, Rodd, Arundell and Farrell being unavailable for selection for all or part of the campaign when making their Six Nations picks.

Check out our top lists for Six Nations betting sites and rugby union online bookies with Check out our guides to Italy vs England and France vs Ireland on the opening weekend of the 2024 championships.

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Chris is a former athlete and a qualified PE teacher. He is a keen football fan, watching many matches at different levels throughout the season, and enjoys following many different sports. With betting and sports sites, he has a keen eye for detail and can to highlight positives and negatives for users. His experience in sport as a performer, teacher, writer and fan allows him to see things from many different perspectives. Editorial Promise