Tuilagi turns to witch-doctor to end injury nightmare
England star was ‘cursed by three evil ghouls’
Sports stars resorting to weird and wacky cures for injury problems are nothing new but Manu Tuilagi may have trumped the lot.
The England rugby star has revealed that he visited a witch-doctor in his native Samoa after suffering from a series of groin, hamstring and knee problems for the last three years.
The Leicester Tigers centre has been sidelined since damaging his left knee in the opening game of the season and is not scheduled to return until next month.
He has not featured in a Test for England since 2014 due to his fitness problems and will once again be a spectator when Eddie Jones’s men take on Argentina on Saturday.
But The Guardian reports that the 26-year-old is more optimistic about his future having seen the witch-doctor “who apparently exorcised a curse caused by three evil ghouls”.
“Tuilagi visited the nation of his birth last week upon the advice of his mother, who suggested seeing the spiritual healer. According to the 26-year-old, he made the hour-long boat ride from Samoa’s mainland to the island of Upolu from Monday to Thursday where the potentially deadly female spirits were banished by balming him with Fijian oil.”
Tuilagi visited Samoa with the blessing of Leicester’s director of rugby Matt O’Connor and club physio Ed Hollis and joked “Hopefully when I come back and play for a long period of time, they’ll have to sack all the physios!”
He is not the first – and almost certainly won’t be the last – to look for an alternative remedy to injury problems when conventional medicine has not worked.
Skier Lindsey Vonn wrapped her injured shin in an Austrian cheese called topfen in a bid to be fit in time for the Winter Olympics in 2010 where she went on to win downhill gold.
Ice hockey star Sidney Crosby took to a mechanical, rotating chair called a GyroStim after being sidelined for ten months with the effects of concussion while Australian Rules footballer Kyle Reimers had Chinese hamster ovaries injected into a broken thumb to speed up recovery.
Tuilagi sees nothing odd in his course of action and told the Daily Telegraph “This is the first time I have done it. The witchdoctors are there for the illnesses that the hospitals can’t cure.
“The witchdoctor found out that there were three lady spirits who had married themselves onto me for the last three years [and] said that was why I had been injured. The spirits wanted me for themselves - they wanted to punish me and that was the way to do it.”
Meanwhile, Tuilagi has welcomed the news that the Rugby Football Union has pledged to help bail out the Samoan Rugby Union after it was declared bankrupt on Wednesday.
The Independent reports that the RFU “will make a goodwill payment of £75,000” to the Samoans who are due to play Scotland this weekend and England on November 25.