Manu Tuilagi: Leicester centre one of 11 players released by England

Media playback is not supported on this device

My RFU problems in the past - Tuilagi
Six Nations: England v Wales
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 12 March Kick-off: 16:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C & online, live radio commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary. Highlights on Scrum V Sunday, 13 March on BBC Two Wales

Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi is one of 11 England players released to play for their clubs this weekend.

The 24-year-old, who returned to the England training squad on Tuesday after 15 months out because of injury, could play against Exeter on Sunday.

Tuilagi could then make his international return in the Six Nations match against Wales on 12 March.

England have retained 22 players, with Alex Goode, Courtney Lawes and Jamie George among the others released.

"This is an opportunity for them to get back to their clubs, to play well, to get some more game time under their belts, and rejoin us ready for the next match," said England forwards coach Steve Borthwick.

England players released for club matches (11)
Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs), Jamie George, Alex Goode (both Saracens), Paul Hill (Northampton Saints), Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Matt Mullan (Wasps) Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath), Marland Yarde (Harlequins).

Tuilagi has scored 11 tries in 25 England appearances, but has not featured for his country since June 2014 as his career has been disrupted by injury and off-field disciplinary problems.

He returned to action for Leicester in January but injured a hamstring in his third game back, further delaying his Test comeback.

Tuilagi feared during the past year his rugby career might be over - and said his focus is now on staying fit.

"When you're out for a long time, it can get quite hard mentally," he said. "I just kept thinking about when I was going to get back playing again. I kept thinking that there's going to be light at the tunnel and it did come in the end - thank God."

Borthwick, a former England captain, says Tuilagi has looked in "good shape".

"It's great to have him here. He's done well in the short time he's been back with us, and he's certainly a player that will hopefully have an impact for this team," Borthwick added.

"Hopefully he'll have another good game for his club side this weekend."

England players retained for training (22)
Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints), Mike Brown, Danny Care (both Harlequins), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Jack Clifford (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola (both Saracens), Anthony Watson (Bath), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

Top Stories