Rugby union: 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 victory over France yesterday.
After the match, Tuilagi required 19 stitches, two of which were internal, after he was caught by the elbow of French number eight 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.”
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, Tuilagi scored after 54 minutes to put England in control of the match.
France had led 10-9 at the interval with an 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.”
Elsewhere Wales hammered Italy 26-9 in Rome, thanks to tries from centre Jonathan Davies and wing Alex Cuthbert, as well as points from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny.
In today’s match, Scotland defeated Ireland 12-8 at Murrayfield, despite the Irish enjoying 78 per cent of possession.
The result meant that Scotland had back-to-back wins in the Six Nations for the first time in a decade.
The Irish led 3-0 at half-time and wing Craig Gilroy extended their advantage, though Paddy Jackson missed the conversion.
Scotland won against the run of play thanks to four straight Greg Laidlaw penalties.