Tuilagi has 26 England caps but has not started for the national side since 2014

Leicester Tigers are considering using injury dispensation cover to bring in a replacement for centre Manu Tuilagi.

The England international is expected to be sidelined for more than 12 weeks with a knee injury sustained in the opening Premiership game of the season

Tigers are therefore entitled to break the salary cap to make a signing.

Head coach Matt O’Connor told BBC Radio Leicester: “We have the potential to use injury dispensation on Manu so we will see what is available.”

Rules state that when a player is injured for 12 weeks or more, his club may apply to the Premiership’s salary cap manager to recruit a replacement, who is then permitted to remain with the club for the rest of the season.

But O’Connor said long-serving back Matt Smith, 32, is also an option.

“Matt was good at the weekend [against Northampton Saints],” added O’Connor. “He has played there a lot for us, has a lot of experience and he will do a good job for us.”

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