England are considering unleashing Manu Tuilagi against Scotland amid a warning from Kevin Sinfield that the midfield powerhouse remains a potent force.

Tuilagi is in contention to make his first appearance of the Guinness Six Nations at Murrayfield on Saturday, having been sidelined since December because of a groin tear.

It is the latest of many injury setbacks for the 32-year-old Sale Sharks centre, who broke his hand twice at last autumn’s World Cup, ruling him out of the start of the club season.

Tuilagi’s return would provide the ball-carrying muscle missing from England’s back line – Ollie Lawrence is also an option for the role – and Sinfield insists he still has plenty to offer the national side.

“I would say this without any doubt – don’t write him off yet,” the assistant coach said.

“He’s still got some really good years ahead of him and he’s very much a big part of how we move forward and what we are doing here.

“When you play like he has done for so long, and you are so physical, it is inevitable that at some point in your career you will have a run of injuries.

“What you find with the powerful-type guys, one injury tends to lead into another.”

Also back in contention for the pivotal round-three encounter in Edinburgh is George Martin, the star of England’s heartbreaking World Cup semi-final defeat to South Africa who is fully fit after tweaking his knee.

The 22-year-old enforcer, who can operate at lock or blindside flanker, stood toe to toe with the Springboks and his physicality will be a valuable asset against Scotland.

“Big. Physical. Aggressive. Great ball carrier and he’s one of our better defenders,” Sinfield said.

“In the semi-final he really stood out on the international stage against some of the biggest, nastiest, most aggressive forwards in the world. He was in and amongst it.

“If selected I have no doubt he’ll leave a mark on somebody. He’s already a top player, but he’s going to get better and better.”

England have won only one of their last six meetings with Scotland and visit Murrayfield knowing it is the most hostile of all opposition venues for Red Rose teams.

Fly-half George Ford has braced his side for a “niggly game” – he was targeted in the tunnel by Scotland number eight Ryan Wilson in 2018, sparking a brawl with Owen Farrell – and Sinfield insists frayed tempers are inevitable.

“There’s certainly going to be some niggle. When you’ve got two angry, nasty forward packs wanting to go at each other, there will be some niggle,” he said.

“It’s a Test match, there’s a lot at stake and we haven’t won against them for a number of years, so no doubt there’ll be some niggle.

“There will be some bits thrown at us over the next couple of days that we haven’t planned for or we haven’t quite expected.

“But that’s the nature of being in top-level sport and we meed to make the best of some of the circumstances we are faced with.

“The history is important for us to understand but it won’t change anything – we’re not going up there with any fear.

“We know how dangerous they are, we know they’re a good team, we know they’ve got some great players. But so have we.”

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.

England will be reinforced for their Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland by the return from injury of Manu Tuilagi, George Martin and Luke Cowan-Dickie.

The trio missed the opening two rounds of the Guinness Six Nations but come into contention for the trip to Murrayfield on February 24 after being included in a 36-man training squad named for the first fallow week.

Ollie Lawrence faces a battle to prove his fitness with the Bath centre continuing to rehab his hip problem in camp, alongside Marcus Smith, who has a calf problem. No date has been set for either player’s comeback.

Billy Vunipola insists England will rally around Manu Tuilagi in expectation of the Samoan onslaught he will face when the rivals meet in their Rugby World Cup clash.

Vunipola, the Saracens number eight of Tongan heritage, has first hand experience from Japan 2019 of what it is like to be targeted by Polynesian opposition with a point to prove.

It is a scenario that Tuilagi will encounter in Lille on Saturday week when Samoa are England’s final Pool D assignment before the quarter-finals.

Now 32-years-old, Tuilagi moved to the UK from the Pacific island when he was 13 and even though he remains proud of his origins, Vunipola expects him to have a target on his back at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

“I know for a fact that the Samoan boys, as much as they respect and hold Manu in high regard for what he has done for exposure in his heritage, they will want to go after him,” Vunipola said.

“Everyone knows Manu can look after himself but we will be right next him trying to help as much as we can because they will be ready and waiting.

“It happened to me at the last World Cup against Tonga when I remember getting put on my backside. I looked up and everyone was cheering on the side of the pitch like they won the game.

“I am on the other side of it but if I were to put myself in a Tongan shirt I would think ‘let’s go get this Tongan kid or who thinks he’s a Tongan kid even if he is on the other side’.

“That’s how I would think if I was in the Tonga team but I am not. I still remember the image of them cheering on the bench and it made me laugh. You just have to accept it and move on.”

England face the prospect of colliding with Pacific island opposition on successive weekends given they are likely to face Fiji in the quarter-finals on October 15.

The teams last met at Twickenham in August when the dangerous Fijians prevailed 30-22, securing a historic first victory in the fixture. It was an important moment for Islander rugby, but Vunipola felt only deflation.

“You obviously have that link to what you have in common with them but at the end of the day I am representing England and I want to win,” the back row said.

“As soon as I cross the white line against any Polynesian team, it’s like ‘right, how do we get the result?’

“Watching the Fiji game in August there was no part of me that was thinking ‘oh great win Fiji, I am happy for you’.

“I was gutted for the boys and was disappointed that we lost. It does not matter about history or they are Polynesian, it is just about the result.”

Manu Tuilagi insists England will continue to laugh in the face of adversity after reacting to their latest disciplinary crisis by delivering one of the nation’s great acts of defiance on a rugby field.

Argentina were routed 27-10 in a pivotal World Cup opener despite England playing all but three minutes of the Stade Velodrome clash with 14 men because of Tom Curry’s red card for a dangerous tackle.

Curry’s disciplinary hearing takes place on Tuesday night when he will learn how much of the group campaign he is to miss, with fixtures against Japan, Chile and Samoa to come.

England have now had four players sent off in six Tests – each of them for dangerous tackles – and an indicator of their regularity was seen in Tuilagi’s response when his Sale team-mate was given his marching orders.

“To be honest I was sort of smiling and laughing because we’ve had a tough preparation,” said centre Tuilagi, who packed down in the scrum in Curry’s absence.

“We’ve had a lot of challenges that life has thrown towards us. But just because we’ve had a lot of challenges it doesn’t mean they are going to stop. That’s life and you’ve just got to find a way to deal with it.

“Tomorrow’s going to be different – a new day, a new challenge. So we’ve talked about the belief and the trust that you’ve got to have in each other.

“Our preparation wasn’t the best, but we worked so hard to get here so it’s time to just go out there and enjoy our rugby, not think about the past and the future.”

At the heart of a victory that places England in control of Pool D was George Ford, the fly-half who wielded the knife as the abject Pumas were subjected to death by a thousand cuts.

Ford landed three drop-goals and six penalties, as well as delivering a tactical masterclass, while around him the likes of Courtney Lawes, Ben Earl and Maro Itoje outfought Argentina even while Curry watched from the stands.

Tuilagi marvels at “our kid” Ford, another Sale colleague who is helping put Manchester back on the rugby map.

“George is unbelievable. He’s a player who has been there and done it all. We look to him in tough times and he stepped up against Argentina,” Tuilagi said.

“He deserves everything he’s got because he’s worked so hard to get back and play well.

“He’s a mastermind. He lives and breathes rugby. And he loves it. Having the love of what you do means you enjoy it. It wasn’t perfect but that’s life, it can never be perfect.”

England are mindful of remaining clear-eyed about a stirring win founded on resilience and smart rugby, but also notable for the impotency of the attack.

The humidity made the ball slippery but that failed to account for the failure to convert a five-on-two overlap in the second half.

For now, however, England will celebrate an important win secured despite an abysmal warm-up campaign and which builds momentum ahead of Sunday’s clash with Japan in Lille.

“This definitely makes working on things a bit better. When we go back to the drawing board on Monday, it’s better to learn on a win than from losing,” Tuilagi said.

Steve Borthwick has left Manu Tuilagi out of his first team as England coach for the Six Nations opener against Scotland on Saturday.

Borthwick has made eight changes to the team from Eddie Jones' final game in charge against South Africa in November.

Joe Marchant has been selected at outside centre, while Marcus Smith and captain Owen Farrell are also named for the game at Twickenham.

Jamie George has come through return to play protocols to be selected at hooker.

Uncapped Ollie Hassell-Collins is one of the more surprising inclusions, while Dan Cole is named on the bench, having not played for England since the 2019 World Cup final.

After announcing the team, Borthwick detailed Tuilagi's reaction to the news, telling reporters: "Manu was the incredible professional that he is.

"We spoke, I told him what I decided selection wise... and we shook hands, and then he went and trained really hard and that reaction is testimony to him and his character and not just him but of several players in that way and ultimately what we want to build here.

"We want to build a team that is not simply about selection. It's a team that is building and going forward to try and get wins for England, which means you've got to train hard every day."

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend will hand Luke Crosbie his third cap as the Edinburgh flanker was named alongside Matt Fagerson and captain Jamie Ritchie in the back row.

Ben White will feature at scrum-half, while Kyle Steyn has been given the nod to replace the injured Darcy Graham at right wing.

Stuart Hogg has recovered from a heel injury to start at full-back, while Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones are named in midfield.

England team: Freddie Steward, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Owen Farrell, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Marcus Smith, Jack van Poortvliet; Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Ollie Chessum, Lewis Ludlam, Ben Curry, Alex Dombrandt.

Replacements: Jack Walker, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Nick Isiekwe, Ben Earl, Ben Youngs, Ollie Lawrence, Anthony Watson.

Scotland team: Stuart Hogg, Kyle Steyn, Huw Jones, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ben White; Pierre Schoeman, George Turner, WP Nel, Richie Gray, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie, Luke Crosbie, Matt Fagerson.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti, Simon Berghan, Jonny Gray, Jack Dempsey, George Horne, Blair Kinghorn, Chris Harris.

Danny Care has been left out of England's training squad ahead of the Autumn Nations Series but Manu Tuilagi and Sam Simmonds return.

Scrum-half Care featured in the Red Rose's series victory over Australia in July, but is not among the 36 players who will report for a three-day camp this weekend.

Centre Tuilagi and number eight Simmonds are back in the fold after recovering from injuries, while pivot Ben Youngs has been selected ahead of the November encounters with Argentina, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa.

Simmonds gets the nod amid reports that he could leave Exeter Chiefs to join Montpellier, a move that would make him ineligible to play for his country.

Locks Alex Coles and Hugh Tizard have been called up for the first time, while Alex Mitchell, Tom Pearson and David Ribbans are also included.

Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje are among the absentees due to injury.

England head coach Eddie Jones said: "With a year to go to the Rugby World Cup, this is a big opportunity for players to come in and impress. We want them to show real energy and enthusiasm and that they want to be a part of this massive year.

"It doesn't mean that those who have been left out won't be considered for the Autumn Nations Series matches. We'll be looking at club games, form and fitness and the door is left open for those players.

"We finished the Australia tour well. It was a fantastic experience, particularly for the younger players. We now have to start again, but we'll build on what we've done there and continue that momentum."

 

England training squad:

Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Alex Coles, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Joe Heyes, Jonny Hill, Lewis Ludlam, Tom Pearson, David Ribbans, Bevan Rodd, Patrick Schickerling, Sam Simmonds, Will Stuart, Hugh Tizard, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Jack Walker, Jack Willis.

Backs: Henry Arundell, Joe Cokanasiga, Fraser Dingwall, Owen Farrell, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Will Joseph, Jonny May, Alex Mitchell, Jack Nowelll, Guy Porter, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Jack van Poortvliet, Ben Youngs.

Manu Tuilagi will miss England's three-Test tour of Australia after undergoing a knee operation, it was revealed on Thursday.

His club side, Sale Sharks, indicated the decision to opt for surgery was taken with the plan that it should put Tuilagi in a strong place ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup.

The injury-plagued centre missed the Six Nations this year and has featured only sporadically during Eddie Jones' tenure as head coach.

Jones recently said that Tuilagi "really wants to make an imprint on this Australian tour", but that plan will have to be shelved.

An automatic pick in the England side if fit, Jones must hope the surgery clears up the 31-year-old's latest problem.

Sale said in a statement: "Sale Sharks can confirm that Manu Tuilagi has undergone a routine procedure on his knee which will rule the 31-year-old out of this summer’s England tour to Australia.

"The club, in close consultation with England Rugby, have decided that a summer of rest and a full pre-season is the best course of action to ensure Manu is fit and available for Sale Sharks and England during a crucial year for both club and country.

"Everyone at the club wishes Manu all the best for his recovery and looks forward to seeing him at Carrington [the club's training base] for the start of pre-season."

England face the Barbarians at Twickenham on June 19 before travelling to Australia for Tests on July 2 in Perth, July 9 in Brisbane and July 16 in Sydney.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup takes place in France from September to October next year.

Manu Tuilagi will miss England's three-Test tour of Australia after undergoing a knee operation, it was revealed on Thursday.

His club side, Sale Sharks, indicated the decision to opt for surgery was taken with the plan that it should put Tuilagi in a strong place ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup.

The injury-plagued centre missed the Six Nations this year and has featured only sporadically during Eddie Jones' tenure as head coach.

Jones recently said that Tuilagi "really wants to make an imprint on this Australian tour", but that plan will have to be shelved.

An automatic pick in the England side if fit, Jones must hope the surgery clears up the 31-year-old's latest problem.

Sale said in a statement: "Sale Sharks can confirm that Manu Tuilagi has undergone a routine procedure on his knee which will rule the 31-year-old out of this summer’s England tour to Australia.

"The club, in close consultation with England Rugby, have decided that a summer of rest and a full pre-season is the best course of action to ensure Manu is fit and available for Sale Sharks and England during a crucial year for both club and country.

"Everyone at the club wishes Manu all the best for his recovery and looks forward to seeing him at Carrington [the club's training base] for the start of pre-season."

England face the Barbarians at Twickenham on June 19 before travelling to Australia for Tests on July 2 in Perth, July 9 in Brisbane and July 16 in Sydney.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup takes place in France from September to October next year.

England will be without Manu Tuilagi for their Six Nations clash with Wales after the centre suffered a hamstring injury.

Tuilagi had been set to return from an injury lay off to feature at Twickenham on Saturday, having been named in the team that Eddie Jones confirmed on Thursday.

However, England have been dealt a blow as scans after training revealed a hamstring problem for the 30-year-old.

England have recalled Joe Marchant, who will train with the squad on Friday. However, an updated team will not be confirmed until the day of the game.

Tuilagi had been set to play alongside Henry Slade in midfield for Jones' team, who bounced back from their defeat to Scotland in the opening match by beating Italy last time out.

He has represented England in 46 Tests so far since making his debut in 2011.

Manu Tuilagi and captain Courtney Lawes will make their returns from injury in England's Six Nations showdown with Wales at Twickenham, while forward Taulupe Faletau will make his first appearance since last year's competition for the visitors on Saturday.

Both sides have posted a win and a loss in their two games so far to trail early leaders France in the table.

England bounced back from a 20-17 loss to Scotland by thrashing Italy 33-0 last time out, while Wales beat Scotland 20-17 after opening their title defence with a 29-7 defeat in Ireland.

Lawes returns from a concussion-enforced layoff which has kept him out of action since January, and regains the captaincy he held against South Africa last Autumn, replacing stand-in Tom Curry in the role.

Tuilagi also makes a welcome return from injury, but Ben Youngs will have to wait to win a record 115th cap after being named on the bench, as Eddie Jones makes four changes to the team which impressed in Rome, with Luke Cowan-Dickie and Kyle Sinckler also coming in.

Looking ahead to the match, Jones told England Rugby that he was content with his side's preparation, and was excited ahead of the showdown.

"We've prepared very well for this game, the squad have really come together on and off the pitch," said Jones. 

"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."

Courtney Lawes and Manu Tuilagi could make a welcome return for England in their Six Nations showdown with Wales at Twickenham.

Lawes may have been installed as England skipper for the tournament if he had not been sidelined due to concussion.

The towering lock missed the loss to Scotland and a win over Italy, but head coach Eddie Jones is hopeful he can face defending champions Wales a week on Saturday.

Centre Tuilagi could also be unleashed on Wayne Pivac's side, having been back in action for Sale Sharks after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Lock Joe Launchbury (knee) and flanker Lewis Ludlam (ribs) could also be back in contention. 

"Potentially we'll have Launchbury, Tuilagi, Lawes and Ludlam," Jones said.

Tom Curry has captained England in the absence of the injured Owen Farrell and Lawes.

But Lawes could have the honour of leading the Red Rose out once again in a battle between two sides who have won one and lost one of their matches heading into a weekend off.

The Australian added: "We'd be hopeful that by the end of next week Courtney will be training fully.

"He's making some great progress and the medical staff have done some terrific work with him. He's not far away now and we're really hopeful he'll be back in full training and able to play against Wales."

Jones said of Tuilagi: "Just having a power running centre would give us a different option.

"Everything we're doing now is about trying to create opportunities through finesse and that's through good running lines and passing.

"But to have someone who can take you forward quickly and engage two or three defenders then allows you to try and finesse extra space, which would be really useful to us.

"We've had three centres play and I think Sladey [Henry Slade] has been very good. Joe Marchant and Elliot Daly have had their moments, but we need to get more out of that and we understand that."

Manu Tuilagi could be fit for England's second match of the Six Nations against Italy at Stadio Olimpico.

The Sale Sharks centre has been sidelined since suffering a torn hamstring when he scored a try in the Red Rose's win over South Africa at Twickenham in November.

Tuilagi is on course to make his return for Sale against Harlequins in the Premiership a week on Sunday, the day after England face Scotland in their Six Nations opener at Murrayfield.

And Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson says the 30-year-old powerhouse may be back in international action in Rome on February 13.

"Harlequins is the projected return, and then we will see how he feels for Six Nations," said Sanderson.

"It is a week-to-week thing for Manu, but England have total autonomy over when he plays and doesn't play, and if he looks really good and feels good, he will go straight through to England and it could be Italy."

Sanderson revealed a clash with his former club Leicester Tigers this Sunday came too soon for Tuilagi.

"He is training and looking good, but we think it is too much of a risk to push him this weekend," Sanderson added.

"He is an exceptional trainer and a quick healer, so all of his progressions are done on the back of hitting physiological markers and GPS speeds, re-scans and seeing the specialist, and we would never push him earlier."

England this week suffered a blow when captain Owen Farrell was ruled out of the Six Nations due to an ankle injury.

Marcus Smith starts at fly-half and Owen Farrell returns at inside centre, while Manu Tuilagi moves to the wing when England face Australia on Saturday.

Smith came off the bench in the 69-3 thrashing of Tonga last weekend but will make his third Test start in place of George Furbank against the Wallabies at Twickenham.

Captain Farrell comes back into the team after missing the drubbing of the Pacific island nation due to his positive coronavirus test.

Tuilagi shifts from midfield to the right wing, with Jonny May on the other flank, and Maro Itoje will make his 50th appearance for his country in an unchanged pack.

Bevan Rodd and Raffi Quirke could make their debuts off the bench, but Joe Marler will not feature after the prop tested positive for COVID-19.

England head coach Eddie Jones said: "We know this will be a tough test for us, we're playing against a team who have been together a while and who have beat the world champions twice. As an Australian, I know how much this game means.

"We've had a really good week of preparation, we're looking to improve our performance this week and I think this side is building well."

England: Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Henry Slade, Owen Farrell (captain), Jonny May, Marcus Smith, Ben Youngs; Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill, Courtney Lawes, Sam Underhill, Tom Curry.

Replacements: Jamie Blamire, Bevan Rodd, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, Alex Dombrandt, Sam Simmonds, Raffi Quirke, Max Malins.

Fraser Dingwall has been called up to the England squad in place of Manu Tuilagi, who has withdrawn due to injury.

The Sale Sharks centre was hurt during his side's 40-30 Premiership semi-final defeat to Exeter Chiefs last Saturday.

Tuilagi, who missed the autumn internationals last year and England's Six Nations campaign, was only three games into a return following an Achilles problem sustained last September.

Northampton Saints' Dingwall has joined up with Eddie Jones' squad ahead of the match between England A and Scotland A in Leicester on Sunday.

Jones' men then play a Test match double-header against the United States at Twickenham on July 4 and July 10.

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