Thursday 29 September 2016

Tuilagi returns to England fold for Wales showdown

Chris Hewett

Published 01/03/2016 | 02:30

England's Manu Tuilagi, who head coach Eddie Jones is adamant can play a role in England's RBS 6 Nations clash with Wales. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA
England's Manu Tuilagi, who head coach Eddie Jones is adamant can play a role in England's RBS 6 Nations clash with Wales. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA

Eddie Jones, the eerily quiet England head coach, made a noise in Six Nations selection last night by adding an unusually powerful, hard-hitting individual to his training squad ahead of the big meeting with Wales at Twickenham a week on Saturday.

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So much for Dave Ewers, the uncapped blindside flanker from Exeter. As expected, Jones also recalled Manu Tuilagi after injury.

Tuilagi has not played Test rugby since June 2014 and is still in the early stages of his comeback after 15 months of orthopaedic hassle.

But the coach sees him as a key figure in the back division and has been unapologetic about fast-tracking him into contention.

With Bath midfielder Ollie Devoto suffering from concussion, there was a vacancy available.

Luther Burrell of Northampton, a bad luck story in human form, was drafted in before Saturday's victory over Ireland, only to find himself overtaken by the inexperienced Elliott Daly of Wasps. As of now, Burrell is one place further down the pecking order.

Ewers, the Zimbabwean-born forward whose iron strength has been at the heart of Exeter's surge towards the top end of the Premiership, would have been in the Six Nations squad from the outset but for injury.

Jones named a 33-strong training group featuring all those who participated against Ireland. Two wings, Marland Yarde of Harlequins and Semesa Rokoduguni of Bath, are among the add-ons, as is Exeter centre Sam Hill.

There is an extra front-row unit in Matt Mullan of Wasps, Luke Cowan-Dickie of Exeter and Kieran Brookes of Northampton.

Also included are Wasps lock Joe Launchbury and Gloucester breakaway Matt Kvesic.

Independent News Service

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