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Dublin: 17°C Sunday 13 June 2021

Manu Tuilagi is back in the England squad after a two-year absence

Eddie Jones has likened him to New Zealand’s Ma’a Nonu.

Tuilagi put in an impressive shift for Leicester Tigers over the weekend.
Tuilagi put in an impressive shift for Leicester Tigers over the weekend.
Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

MANU TUILAGI IS back in the England squad for the first time in two years after being added to their training party ahead of the Six Nations clash with Wales.

Tuilagi has been included in a group of 33 players who have assembled in Bath to begin preparations for the showdown against Warren Gatland’s team at Twickenham on 12 March.

It is the Leicester centre’s first appearance in an England squad since the 2014 tour to New Zealand after a serious groin injury sidelined him for 15 months.

“Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi and Exeter Chiefs back row Dave Ewers have returned to the England training squad as preparations get underway for the Six Nations clash with Wales on 12 March,” a statement on the English Rugby Football Union’s website confirmed.

“Both players were initially named in the Elite Playing Squad but will join up with Eddie Jones’ squad for the first time after recovering from injuries.”

Tuilagi missed last year’s World Cup due to a combination of injury and suspension, with Owen Farrell taking his place at inside centre.

But England boss Eddie Jones had indicated the Samoan-born 24-year-old was in line to get a call-up when asked about his status earlier this week.

“He has to keep working on his fitness and he is going to be a valuable player for England. I think 12 is his best position, he can carry the ball off the gain line, he’s got the ability to catch and pass,” Jones said recently.

“He’s got all the attributes to be an outstanding 12. If you look at it on pure athleticism Manu is not far behind (New Zealand star) Ma’a Nonu at all.

“He starts from a good situation and it depends how hard he works on his game and how desperate he is to play for England.”

Tuilagi came through 80 minutes for Leicester in their Premiership win over London Irish on Sunday and will be a strong candidate for the bench with England chasing a first grand slam for 13 years.

After defeating Ireland 21-10 on Saturday to clinch their third successive Six Nations victory, England sit on top of the table with six points, one clear of Wales.

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