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Manu Tuilagi has revealed that he visited a witchdoctor back in Samoa last week in a bid to end the nightmare run of injuries that have recently plagued his career.
The Leicester Tigers centre suffered a left knee injury in the first game of the season at home to Bath, sidelining him until December.
Speaking ahead of BT Sport’s Rugby Tonight, Tuilagi revealed that he visited the witchdoctor over four days on the island of ‘Upolu.
“That's why I went home, just for that,” said Tuilagi. “I saw the witchdoctor for four days - two hours a day. It's a spiritual thing. My mum spoke to her and asked for her help. Before I got out there she had found out what the illness was.
“Then when I went out there she massaged my whole body. All I needed was a towel and a Fijian oil. The witchdoctor was half Fijian and half Samoan and she found out that there were three lady spirits who had married themselves onto me for the last three years.”
Tuilagi was earlier ruled out for seven months in January after injuring his right knee, and has not appeared in a Test for England since 2014 having also suffered injuries to his chest and groin.
“The witchdoctor said that was why I had been injured,” Tuilagi explained. “The spirits wanted me for themselves - they wanted to punish me and that was the way to do it. Every time I played - bang!
Tuilagi was ruled out for seven months after getting injured playing for Leicester in January Credit: PA
“Instead of beating my physically they made sure I was injured. But that is gone now and that is why I had the whole body massages - to block the spirits from me.
“They can't see and find me now - but maybe when it comes out in the newspaper they will know again?!
“This is the first time I have done it. The witchdoctors are there for the illnesses that the hospitals can't cure.”
Tuilagi agreed the witchdoctor visit with Leicester head coach Matt O’Connor and club physio Ed Hollis, continuing his rehab from the left knee strain while back in Samoa.
His brother Alesana, a former Samoa international who made over 100 appearances for Leicester, was tasked with accompanying Manu throughout the process.
“I did my program, pilates, physio, rehab which I would do after seeing the witchdoctor,” added Tuilagi.
“The witchdoctor was on a different island called ‘Upolu. My island is Savai’i. I'd get the ferry, which is about an hour, and visited the witchdoctor from Monday to Thursday with my brother Alex.
Tuilagi has had plenty of problems with injury Credit: getty images
“The conditions of the treatment meant I wasn't able to go anywhere on my own. I was always with my brother Alex and his family.
“I wasn't allowed to sleep in the room by myself so me and Alex set up a little camp in the living room in front of the TV.
“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 witchdoctor said I was too handsome!”
Tuilagi also endorsed Mako Vunipola’s proposal for the England matchday squad to donate £1,000 to the Samoan players, after the Samoan president Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi announced on Wednesday that the Samoan Rugby Union was facing bankruptcy.
“Mako Vunipola’s suggestion for the England players to donate £1,000 each is very good, Tuilagi enthused. “The money would go straight to the players, instead of to the Samoan Rugby Union, because if that happened it would be the exact same thing as before. The players will not see a penny.
“The issue is the people who are running the game in Samoa, across the islands. The problem is internal. If we are given money [now] then the problem will still be there. “It has saddened me to hear about it. We need change, people who can manage and run the SRU. A mixture of the home nations and people from World Rugby.”