Tuilagi out of Six Nations and Lions tour with serious knee injury

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Manu Tuilagi has been ruled out of England's Six Nations campaign after suffering a Premiership season-ending knee injury that wrecks his hopes of touring New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions.

A day on from being called up by England coach Eddie Jones ahead of the Six Nations, Leicester Tigers star Tuilagi - who has been limited to just one international outing since June 2014 amid multiple fitness issues - took a whack to his right knee in a Premiership defeat to Saracens on Sunday.

Richard Cockerill, who has since been sacked as Leicester's director of rugby, was initially optimistic that Tuilagi had avoided serious injury.

However, in a news conference on Wednesday, Tigers first-team coach Aaron Mauger - placed in interim charge following Cockerill's dismissal - revealed the centre would not play again this term.

"Unfortunately Manu sustained an ACL injury in the game on Sunday that's going to put him out for the rest of the season," said Mauger.

"It's looking like a six-month recovery which is devastating for the bloke, he's worked so hard to get back to where he is.

"He's absolutely gutted, but we've got a good support team around him, we'll put a good plan in place and we'll see him back on the field early next season."

The blow is the latest in a long line of fitness concerns for Tuilagi.

He returned to action this time last year after spending 15 months sidelined by a serious groin injury, with similar issues hampering him at the back end of the last Premiership season and into the current campaign.