Tuilagi returns against Wallabies

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Powerful England centre Manu Tuilagi has been named to make his Test return off the bench against the Wallabies.

Tuilagi hasn't played a Test since March 2016 with a string of unfortunately-timed injuries hampering his progress.

England coach Eddie Jones said earlier in the week Tuilagi just needed to make the final steps to full fitness and with a week of training under his belt, Tuilagi has done enough.

I just think it's been obvious he hasn't been right," he said.

"He just couldn't give that last little 1 per cent or 0.5 per cent. He got through training yesterday – we had a pretty fair hit-out – and he got through it no problems at all. So he's right to go.

"There's no reason not to play him. He's a good player. He doesn't need to do a lot of training.

"All we're wanting is for him to do the basics well. Good straight hard running, good hard low tackling, work off the ball...that's all we want to see from him."

Tuilagi joins a beefed-up matchday 23 that also includes powerhouse winger Joe Cokanasiga and former NRL star Ben Te'o, a prospect Jones finds enticing.

"We have never had that before. So exciting," he said.

"It just means we've got different variations of what we have been doing. It gives us different options which is pleasing.

"I am so pleased for Manu because he has really stuck at it. It's disheartening when you get little injuries that just stop you from playing. But he has stuck at it, he has been positive, and he is getting rewarded."

Jones has pushed Dylan Hartley to the bench, preferring Lions hooker Jamie George to start but played down the significance of the decision.

"It’s just how we think the game will go this week. We think the first half of the game there will be a lot of ball in play, a lot of movement. That suits Jamie,” he said.

“The end of the game we think will be more set piece, more of an arm-wrestle and that suits Dylan.

“It has nothing to do with last week’s game. Last week’s game was the best thing for us.”

England host the Wallabies at Twickenham on Saturday November 24, kicking off at 3pm local, Sunday 2am AEDT, LIVE on beIN Sports and SBS.

TEAM

England to face the Wallabies

IN: Brad Shields, Ben Youngs, Ben Te'o, Jonny May, Nathan Hughes, Manu Tuilagi

 OUT: Zach Mercer, Danny Care, Alex Lozowski, Jack Nowell, Chris Ashton, Ted Hill

1. Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 3 caps)

2. Jamie George (Saracens, 31 caps)

3. Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 16 caps)

4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 25 caps)

5. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 67 caps)

6. Brad Shields (Wasps, 4 caps)

7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 8 caps)

8. Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 7 caps)

9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 79 caps)

10. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 64 caps) co-captain

11. Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 39 caps)

12. Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors, 15 caps)

13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 16 caps)

14. Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)

15. Elliot Daly (Wasps, 24 caps)

Reserves

16. Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 96 caps) co-captain

17. Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs, 5 caps)

18. Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 14 caps)

19. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)

20. Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 17 caps)

21. Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens, 32 caps)

22. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 50 caps)

23. Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 26