Manu Tuilagi: England return possible for fit-again centre

Manu Tuilagi
Manu Tuilagi

Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi hopes to be considered for an England return against Wales at Twickenham next week.

Tuilagi played 70 minutes at Kingston Park in the Tigers' 41-18 win against Newcastle before being sinbinned.

And, after five months out with a chest muscle injury, he wants to impress England coach Stuart Lancaster.

"If Stuart asks me if I'm ready to play I'll say 'absolutely'," said Tuilagi. "I'll be going down to training with England and we'll take it from there."

The 22-year-old added: "The boys are doing really well and it'll be really good for me to just go down there and get settled back in there.

"I spoke to Stuart last weekend and he said to come down after the game and train and we'll see how it goes."

Samoan-born Tuilagi, who won his first British and Irish Lions cap in this summer's final Test win over Australia, has not played since being hurt in Leicester's game against Newcastle Falcons in September,

"In the first game back I was bound to be nervous, but I just wanted that ball and I was happy with the first tackle and impact," said Tuilagi.

"I felt pretty good out there after all the training I have been doing and feel I've knocked the rust off my game. I was excited to be back and wanted to play the whole 80 minutes.

"I've worked hard to get myself to this point. It's been a long road back.

"It was a setback when they said it was off the bone and needed an operation. They had to pull it back up and bolt it back and it took a while to heal.

"The five months have been tough. I knew the injury was bad because I heard a little crack when it happened and I was really gutted, but that's rugby."

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill last week dismissed speculation that Tuilagi was a target for rugby league side Salford Red Devils, having pointed out that he is contracted to the Tigers for the next two years and that they will do "everything they can" to keep him.

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