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One of England's biggest World Cup weapons won't play rugby again this season

Manu Tuilagi is expected to be fit for the autumn tournament but will be short of match practice.

It has been a tough season of injury for Manu Tuilagi.
It has been a tough season of injury for Manu Tuilagi.
Image: Jonathan Brady

GIVEN ENGLAND WERE missing some of their key men during this year’s Six Nations championship, Stuart Lancaster will have some tough decisions to make when he finally gets around to picking his team to face Fiji in the World Cup opener this September.

One player who has always made the England team when fit is Manu Tuilagi but after missing almost the entire season so far, he isn’t an automatic first choice anymore. And his chances of regaining his England place took another hit yesterday when Leicester coach Richard Cockerill said it was likely that the giant centre will miss the remainder of the season.

“He’s improving all the time but it’s a long process,” Cockerill told the BBC.

“The likelihood now is he may not play this season. The likelihood is he will be fit for June and he’ll join England for their World Cup camp. Hopefully he’ll be involved in the World Cup warm-ups and have a huge say in how England do.”

The return of Tuilagi will present an interesting dilemma for Stuart Lancaster and his staff. At the moment the centres in the England reckoning, judging from recent squads, are Tuilagi, Jonathan Joseph, Luther Burrell, Brad Barritt, Billy Twelvetrees and Kyle Eastmond.

A potential combination of Tuilagi at 12 and Joseph at 13 would certainly be very formidable and the Leicester man will fancy his chances at usurping Burrell, who was probably the quietest of England’s backs during the Six Nations.

Tuilagi hasn’t played since injuring his groin in the Champions Cup opener against Ulster back in October.

Would you have Tuilagi in the England team?

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