‘He looked good’ – Manu Tuilagi in line to face Scotland after injury recovery

By Sports Desk February 14, 2024

England are ready to thrust Manu Tuilagi straight into their Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland following his recovery from a groin problem.

Tuilagi has been added to Steve Borthwick’s squad for their fallow week training camp in London having missed the opening two Guinness Six Nations rounds because of the injury sustained in December.

If the 32-year-old centre plays at Murrayfield on February 24 it will be his first appearance for nine weeks, but England are confident he would rise to the occasion.

Defence coach Felix Jones said: “Manu had little bit of a run around out there today (Wednesday). It wasn’t anything too intense but he looked good.

“He’s done it a number of times where he’s come back from injury with low levels of game time but still been able to perform at a very high level. Experience accounts for a lot in those situations.”

If Tuilagi proves his fitness in training over the coming days, Borthwick must decide whether to break up the centre partnership of Fraser Dingwall and Henry Slade that started the victories over Italy and Wales or confine him to a bench role.

Tuilagi provides the ability to punch over the gainline currently lacked by the back division and England know that Scotland will build much of their attack around their own muscular carrier Sione Tuipulotu.

The prospect of Ollie Lawrence being available for the round three showdown in Edinburgh is less certain as he overcomes a hip injury.

The Bath powerhouse, another midfield option, was involved in training on Wednesday and a clearer picture of his readiness will emerge over the coming days.

Hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie and lock George Martin are both in contention against Scotland after being added to Borthwick’s 36-man training squad.

Cowan-Dickie was forced to withdraw from the original Six Nations squad after an undisclosed medical condition materialised when he was on club duty for Sale.

His availability will relieve the pressure on captain Jamie George, whose workload has been increased by the lack of experienced alternatives in the position.

Martin’s fitness will be welcomed by England, who benefited from his menacing display against South Africa in the semi-final of last autumn’s World Cup – his most recent international appearance.

The 22-year-old had tweaked his knee, ruling him out of the start of the Six Nations, but will look to secure a place in the second or back row against Scotland.

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