London – 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 March 12.
It is the Leicester centre’s first
appearance in an England squad since the 2014 tour to New Zealand after a
serious groin injury side-lined 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
“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
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
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
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.
Tuilagi nudges Ollie Devoto out of the
group, although the Bath centre had already been struggling with concussion.
Exeter’s Ewers also makes his first
appearance in Jones’ Six Nations squad after completing his recovery from a
Ewers, an original inclusion in the
33-strong elite player squad named in January, takes the place of Sale number
eight Josh Beaumont, who has been stricken by a dislocated shoulder.