Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby

Manu Tuilagi to train with England after proving fitness

Published 28/02/2016

Manu Tuilagi is getting back up to speed with Leicester
Manu Tuilagi is getting back up to speed with Leicester

Manu Tuilagi will link up with the England squad tomorrow before returning to play for Leicester Tigers next weekend, according to the club's director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

Tuilagi, 24, proved his fitness in a troubled season with a fine performance in Leicester's seven-try demolition of Aviva Premiership bottom club London Irish, the 47-20 win in front of a 23,173 crowd lifting them to fourth.

He will play for Leicester in their crucial home game against second-placed Exeter next Sunday after two days with England but Cockerill refused to say whether he was ready to play for England against Wales at Twickenham on March 12.

"We will have to see," he said. "They have all the power so there is no point in having an argument.

"If Eddie (Jones) wants to play him he will play him. That's the agreement, he is in the EPS.

"I'm not stupid enough to have a fight I can't win, but England are playing well so there's no need to pick him."

Cockerill thinks the best position for Tuilagi with England is inside centre.

Tuilagi, who has made just four starts for Leicester after groin and hamstring injuries, played there against London Irish, with South Africa's World Cup winner Jean de Villiers outside him on his home debut.

Cockerill said: "Twelve or 13 is irrelevant. For us de Villiers will do certain parts of that job at 12 and 13.

"I think they will pick Manu at 12 as and when. They have got really good options at 13 with Jonathan Joseph and Elliot Daly.

"A really good fit would be Manu at 12 making holes. People will defend Manu and there will space for Joseph or Daly on the outside."

Leicester's bonus-point win stopped the rot after three successive defeats.

De Villiers scored on his home debut, the other tries coming from Adam Thompstone (two), Harry Thacker, Lachlan McCaffrey, Jono Kitto, and Tom Croft.

But Leicester's next three games are against teams above them - Exeter, Wasps and leaders Saracens.

Cockerill said "It was a good win and we are happy to get back on track.

"But we won't get too excited. It was against a side that is struggling but we will take the five points.

"We have got three big weeks ahead, an important three weeks in the shake-up."

London Irish, who scored three tries through David Paice, Joe Trayfoot and Andrew Fenby, have still to earn a point away from home and are rooted to the bottom on 13 points, five behind Worcester.

Head coach Tom Coventry believes they can escape the drop. "I hope so, that's my challenge," he said.

"We have not spoken about it and it's not something I came into the country thinking about. But now we are amongst it we have to manage our way through it.

"It's pretty tough. We need to get points away and we have not done that all season.

"I thought Leicester were good today, pretty belligerent, the pressure did not come off us at any stage."

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph