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Six Nations: Manu Tuilagi returns for England as Wales drop Louis Rees-Zammit

Tuilagi will make his first Guinness Six Nations start in almost two years.

Manu Tuilagi.
Manu Tuilagi.
Image: PA

ENGLAND ENTER THEIR pivotal Guinness Six Nations match against Wales with Manu Tuilagi and Courtney Lawes restored to the team following spells out through injury.

Tuilagi makes his first start in the competition in almost two years after completing his recovery from a torn hamstring and will resume the centre partnership with Henry Slade last seen in the autumn.

Lawes is also making his maiden England appearance of 2022 having overcome concussion, enabling him to pack down at blindside flanker and relieve Tom Curry of the captaincy duties.

Wales boss Wayne Pivac, meanwhile, has left out wing Louis Rees-Zammit and recalled number eight Taulupe Faletau for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash against England.

Rees-Zammit is replaced by a fit-again Josh Adams, with Alex Cuthbert retained on the other wing and set to win his 50th cap.

Faletau makes his first Wales appearance for 11 months, having proved his fitness following a long-term ankle injury by playing in Bath’s last two Gallagher Premiership matches against Wasps and Leicester.

In an unexpected twist for England, however, Ben Youngs must surpass Jason Leonard’s record as England’s most capped played as a replacement due to Harry Randall continuing as starting scrum-half.

Youngs was expected to be restored at nine after being demoted for the five-try rout of Italy in Rome, but he will win his 115th cap off the bench before a full house at Twickenham.

Eddie Jones has made three changes in personnel and one positional switch for round three with Luke Cowan-Dickie displacing Jamie George at hooker to complete the new arrivals into the starting XV.

Maro Itoje moves from the back to the second row and Alex Dombrandt holds off the challenge of Sam Simmonds at number eight. Tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler will win his 50th cap.

Jones said: “It will also be a special match with two significant milestones for Ben and Kyle, both of whom have made outstanding contributions to English rugby so far in their careers. We congratulate them and we know there is more to come ahead for them.

“We’ve prepared very well for this game, the squad have really come together on and off the pitch.

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“Wales are a good, tough side and Six Nations champions and it will make for an exciting Test match in front of a full Twickenham crowd.

“We’ve got a talented, young, hungry squad who have trained with real intensity this week. We’re ready to go at them and can’t wait to play in front of our supporters again.”

England team: Freddie Steward; Max Malins, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Jack Nowell; Marcus Smith, Harry Randall; Alex Dombrandt, Tom Curry, Courtney Lawes (capt); Maro Itoje, Charlie Ewels; Kyle Sinckler, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge

Replacements: Jamie George, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, Nick Isiekwe, Sam Simmonds, Ben Youngs, George Ford, Elliot Daly 

Wales team: Liam Williams; Alex Cuthbert, Owen Watkin, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar (capt), Tomos Williams; Taulupe Faletau, Taine Basham, Ross Moriarty; Adam Beard, Will Rowlands; Tomas Francis, Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones

Replacements: Dewi Lake, Gareth Thomas, Leon Brown, Seb Davies, Jac Morgan, Kieran Hardy, Gareth Anscombe, Jonathan Davies

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