Tuilagi ruled out of England's tour of Australia but targets clear World Cup run after surgery

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Manu Tuilagi will miss England's three-Test tour of Australia after undergoing a knee operation, it was revealed on Thursday.

His club side, Sale Sharks, indicated the decision to opt for surgery was taken with the plan that it should put Tuilagi in a strong place ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup.

The injury-plagued centre missed the Six Nations this year and has featured only sporadically during Eddie Jones' tenure as head coach.

Jones recently said that Tuilagi "really wants to make an imprint on this Australian tour", but that plan will have to be shelved.

An automatic pick in the England side if fit, Jones must hope the surgery clears up the 31-year-old's latest problem.

Sale said in a statement: "Sale Sharks can confirm that Manu Tuilagi has undergone a routine procedure on his knee which will rule the 31-year-old out of this summer’s England tour to Australia.

"The club, in close consultation with England Rugby, have decided that a summer of rest and a full pre-season is the best course of action to ensure Manu is fit and available for Sale Sharks and England during a crucial year for both club and country.

"Everyone at the club wishes Manu all the best for his recovery and looks forward to seeing him at Carrington [the club's training base] for the start of pre-season."

England face the Barbarians at Twickenham on June 19 before travelling to Australia for Tests on July 2 in Perth, July 9 in Brisbane and July 16 in Sydney.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup takes place in France from September to October next year.

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