Monday 19 March 2018

Tuilagi catching Lancaster's eye on England comeback trail

England interim head coach Stuart Lancaster was encouraged with Manu Tuilagi's performance for Leicester on Sunday and is considering whether to give the controversial centre a starting place in this weekend's Six Nations clash against Wales.

Tuilagi was one of the few players to impress in a disastrous World Cup campaign for England last autumn, but he returned home as one of many players shamed over his disciplinary problems.

The centre was fined on two occasions in New Zealand -- firstly for wearing a sponsored gumshield, and then for jumping off a ferry in Auckland.

Tuilagi is yet to play for England since the World Cup, thanks to a shattered eye-socket and a hamstring injury.

He has been restricted to just five games for Leicester this season -- the latest of which came in their 20-19 win at Saracens on Sunday.

The 20-year-old was recalled to the England squad last week but faces a fight to dislodge Brad Barritt, who shone in England's opening two wins of the Six Nations.

"Manu has had such limited game time since the World Cup so it was a good chance for him to get another 80 minutes under his belt," Lancaster said.

"At that level, in that quality of a game, it was just a great opportunity for him to play another game. We were pleased for him and how he played."

Tuilagi will begin full training with England today and will have two days to impress Lancaster and prove that he is sharp enough to be considered ahead of Barritt.

Irish Independent

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