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Jones names 25-strong England training squad that includes Tuilagi

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Emmanuele Ciancaglini/Ciancaphoto Studio/Getty Images)

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England boss Eddie Jones has named a 25-man squad for this week’s fallow week training camp in London ahead of the February 27 Guinness Six Nations game at home to Wales. It was just before 4pm on Tuesday when Sale boss Alex Sanderson revealed at his weekly media briefing that Manu Tuilagi had been recalled by Jones after missing the recent matches versus Scotland and Italy.

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It was then 7pm when the RFU officially confirmed the make-up of the latest England training squad, naming the 24 other players are already in camp alongside Tuilagi ahead of next week’s round three championship game. 

The 30-year-old Tuilagi put his hand up for a Test recall last Saturday when he impressed with 50 minutes as a midfield starter for Sale six days after his initial 30-minute comeback off the bench following an eleven-week lay-off.

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Tuilagi had damaged a hamstring when diving to score in the November win over the Springboks and England reacted by moving Henry Slade in from outside centre to fill the No12 jersey versus Scotland and Italy with Elliot Daly and Joe Marchant respectively stationed outside him in the No13 channel.

However, with Sale boss Sanderson stating last Saturday that ‘Manu was outstanding’ when assessing his player’s first club start of 2022, the restoration of Tuilagi to the England squad was inevitable and it will now open up the possibility of a Tuilagi-Slade midfield combination when Wales visit London on Saturday week.

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That would reprise the partnership that lasted just seven minutes together three months ago at Twickenham versus the Springboks. Prior to that brief cameo, the Tuilagi/Slade 12/13 axis had last started together for England in the October 2019 World Cup quarter-final win over Australia in Oita. 

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Jones had named a 36-man squad at the start of last week to assemble for the Italy match and the players who weren’t officially called back for full training this week were forwards Jamie Blamire, Joe Heyes, Nick Isiekwe, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler and Sam Simmonds, and backs Mark Atkinson, George Furbank, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Louis Lynagh, Raffi Quirke and Adam Radwan. 

Isiekwe started both England matches so far but the fit-again Launchbury, who was at training for two days last week in what was his first involvement since a December 2020 Autumn Nations Cup final appearance, has now been favoured.

Marler, a sub in both games this month, and Simmonds, a starter versus Scotland and a sub against Italy, are the other two players from the omitted dozen to have seen England action in recent weeks. An RFU statement read: “The squad has met up in Chelsea and will train at Latymer School. Sam Simmonds will not take part in training this week as part of the management of an ongoing hip issue and will be rehabbing in camp.

“Courtney Lawes and Jonny Hill will also join up with the squad. Lawes will continue to work through return to play protocols and Jonny Hill is undergoing rehab on a fibula injury.”

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ENGLAND SQUAD
FORWARDS (14)
Alfie Barbeary (Wasps, uncapped)
Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 38 caps)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 6 caps)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 28 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 33 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 63 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 53 caps)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 69 caps)
Tom Pearson (London Irish, uncapped)
Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 49 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 17 caps) 

BACKS (11)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 54 caps)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 79 caps)
Max Malins (Saracens, 12 caps)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 9 caps)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 36 caps)
Harry Randall (Bristol Bears, 3 caps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 45 caps)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 7 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 7 caps)
Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 46 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 114 caps)

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