Sunday 19 November 2017

Tuilagi to make England debut

Samoa-born centre Manu Tuilagi will make his first appearance for England after Martin Johnson included him in the team to face Wales at Twickenham tomorrow.

The 20-year-old, whose five brothers have played for Samoa, qualifies through residency and will line up alongside New Zealand-born Riki Flutey in midfield in the first of England's three World Cup warm-up games.

Uncapped 21-year-old Gloucester winger Charlie Sharples was named among the replacements and prop Matt Stevens wins his first cap since 2008 following his return from a two-year doping ban.

Delon Armitage, suspended for eight weeks in January for abusing a doping official and banned again for three weeks for punching, was also given his chance to redeem himself with a start at full-back.

Flanker Lewis Moody, who missed the Six Nations with a knee injury, returns to captain the side, with stand-in skipper Mike Tindall left out.

With Ben Youngs injured, Danny Care starts at scrum-half alongside Jonny Wilkinson. Mark Cueto and Matt Banahan fill the wing berths.

It is Tuilagi, however, who will be the main talking point. He missed the last five weeks of the season having been banned for assaulting England team-mate Chris Ashton with a flurry of punches in the Premiership semi-final.

Irish Independent

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