Manu Tuilagi says sleep is key to achieving his Rugby World Cup dream
Injury-plagued England center reveals conversation with wife Chantelle that put him on the right track
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Manu Tuilagi claims to have discovered the key to living his World Cup dream: spending more time sleeping.
The injury-prone England center is firing on all cylinders again for the Sale club after his last spell on the sidelines.
He returned armed with the belief that more kip and a change in sleep pattern is the key to avoiding injury in his quest to play a third World Cup next year.
The Eureka moment came during a conversation with his wife Chantelle, who told him bluntly: “You are an athlete, you have to sleep”.
She responded to his admission that while he was on duty in England he “never fell asleep” and only awoke half an hour before training began.
“I used to sleep very late,” Tuilagi said. “Wake up 20-30 minutes before we have the tours and then you practice.
“As an athlete sometimes you get too excited, you just want to be on the court and you ignore what your body is telling you.
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“You have to listen to him. Because if your body says no, there’s nothing you can do.
After injuring her hamstring while training in England in February, Chantelle told her husband he needed to own it and be honest with himself ‘because only you know what’s going on. happened”.
Manu reflected: “I looked at myself, what I do off the pitch and I really focused on more recovery. After training, sauna, hot and cold, and sleep.
“Sleep is important to me. For an athlete, it takes at least seven hours because the mental side of the game is more important than the physical side.
“The game is so physical these days, but if your mind is stronger, mentally, nothing can stop you. I never used to sleep. I feel good now.”
It would be unwise to imagine that Tuilagi, who turns 31 next week, has closed the book on injury years with the World Cup in France 16 months away.
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The abrasive way he plays the game is an occupational hazard. This limited him to 47 caps in 11 years.
Yet despite the obvious disappointment of Sale’s quarter-final loss to Racing on Sunday, Spring was back in his step in Paris where he scored a blistering try.
“I felt good, yeah, I played for the 80 [minutes] no problem,” Tuilagi said afterwards. “I loved it, really enjoyed it.
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“I’m really grateful for the injuries I suffered because you can only learn from the hard times.
“You can only learn from that, as a feeling. You can’t learn from someone else’s mistakes because you don’t feel it.