Manu Tuilagi continues comeback against Exeter Chiefs
England centre Manu Tuilagi has his final audition for a role in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations title collision with Wales when Leicester host Exeter in the Aviva Premiership.
Tuilagi is poised to end his 21-month injury-enforced international exile by winning a place on the bench for the Twickenham showdown, but must first come through the sixth club match of his comeback from a long-standing groin injury and minor hamstring problem.
England head coach Eddie Jones believes the 24-year-old wrecking ball is capable of 20 minutes of Test rugby and he will reinforce the assault on Warren Gatland's men as a final-quarter replacement if he comes through the Welford Road clash unharmed.
Pleasingly for Jones, Tuilagi has been selected against Exeter at inside centre - the position in which the Australian intends to pick him having claimed the number 13 jersey is not his natural home.
In December, Tuilagi signed a three-year contract that ties him to Welford Road until 2019 and he admits Leicester's support during his 15-month lay-off was key in his decision to stay.
"It was definitely out of loyalty. The main thing is that you are happy. If you are happy, why change? I'm happy at Tigers. I have been there all my life since being in England," he said.
"For me, if you're happy where you are there is no point changing and Tigers helped me out a lot, so you have got to show your loyalty."
England hopeful Dave Ewers starts at blindside flanker for Exeter in the hope of impressing Jones having recovered from the knee injury that prevented him from joining up with the Six Nations squad until this week.