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England give update on seriousness of the latest Tuilagi injury

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

England assistant coach Richard Cockerill has delivered an update on the fresh hamstring problem that ruled Manu Tuilagi out of contention to play against Wales in this Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations game versus Wales at Twickenham. The powerhouse midfielder was named by Eddie Jones as his starter at No12 when the team was confirmed at 11:30am on Thursday.

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However, his name was scratched from the teamsheet at 7:45pm that evening due to an injury sustained at training and his sudden sidelining resulted in the recall to the squad of Joe Marchant, the No13 in the round two game versus Italy who was cut from the England squad on Tuesday and was poised to instead play for Harlequins in a Friday night Gallagher Premiership match.

Marchant is now back with the England squad at their Pennyhill base ahead of the game against the Welsh but a decision still has to be taken on who exactly will fill the vacancy in a midfield where Henry Slade is set to switch into the No12 Tuiulagi role to allow either Marchant or Elliot Daly to start alongside him at No13. 

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“Obviously, we have got options that can play 13,” said forwards coach Cockerill following the completion of the captain’s run training session on Friday morning. “Joe has played there a fair bit and obviously there are other options there with Elliot Daly. That will get decided over the next 24 hours and it will be announced as we arrive at the stadium tomorrow [Saturday].   

“Everybody trained (on Friday morning), all fit and well here. It’s nice and sunny. The conditions were good. Everybody trained well and looking forward to the game.”

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Switching to Tuilagi and his latest setback after he had just returned from an eleven-week layoff following a previous hamstring issue picked up against South Africa in November, Cockerill explained: “He had a slight hamstring strain at training yesterday [Thursday] so he has left camp and he is at home. It’s not too serious as far as we know and hopefully, he will be back soon.

“He is in pretty good spirits. Like I said, it is not a serious issue and look it’s unfortunately part of professional sport. Manu has still got a smile on his face and he is optimistic he will be back playing for club and country soon. 

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“On that front, it is pretty positive but obviously it’s a disappointment for him personally and disappointing for the team because he would have been an important member of the squad.”

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Mzilikazi 5 hours ago
Daugunu salvo shows why Wallabies work-rate is everything to Schmidt

Nice article, Brett, and good to be writing about a second win. I think Georgia will be far more testing. Tbh, I have not looked at their touring squad, but at full strength they are a far better and more dangerous team than they were at RWC France. They would have been disappointed they did not perform to full potential there. I think that the WB’s under Joe Schmidt have started soundly. Recovery from a serious setback always takes time. And the Jones era was that and more. I think the arrival of Les Kiss back to his native Qld. is a very positive factor, and the fact that he and Schmidt know each other well is a help. Players I think are much improved this year: Daugunu, who has blossomed with the Rebels, so credit to the coaching unit down there. Am pleased he will come back to the Reds. McReight is said to have put on up to 7 kgs since last season. His work rate has always been good, but it is his carrying into contact that has gone up. Now makes those critical one or two metres post contact very often. Is conceding fewer penalties now as his game matures. Rob Valetini was good last year, but is now a greater force this one. A really punishing ball carrier. Hunter Paisami is now a more controlled player. His carrying into contact is very impressive for an 80 kg man. Interestingly, if you saw Nick Bishops latest article, he has a team for RC with Kerevi at 12. Also Skelton in the team. Not sure if there will be o’seas players as early as RC though….but need them in by the EYOT games.

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