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'He's in tremendous shape, body weight is good, he's lean, ripped'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England have declared themselves pleased with what they saw of Manu Tuilagi at this week’s three-day training camp in London ahead of the Autumn Nations Series which begins on November 6 at home to Argentina at Twickenham. The Sale midfielder hasn’t been capped by his country since getting injured in the act of scoring eleven months ago in the win over the Springboks.

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He was selected to play against Wales last February only to pull out of the team a few hours after it had been announced due to re-injuring his hamstring and it was then decided he should go for a knee operation rather than tour Australia with England in July.

Tuilagi has since returned to full fitness, starting in all three Sale matches in this season’s Gallagher Premiership, and he will now be targeting selection in the England Autumn Nations Series squad which is due to be announced on October 17.

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“We all know how strong Manu is at ball carrying and defensively how hard he can hit, but what people forget around Manu is he is a quick learner, he knows the game very well,” said forwards coach Richard Cockerill before this week’s England camp broke up and the players returned to their clubs.

“And he has got a really good skill set. So if Manu is physically fit and he is on his game, he has got all the attributes, not only the physical ones, but he is an intelligent footballer too. He is in really tremendous shape. His body weight is good, he is lean and ripped. He is a family man now with different responsibilities so he is just a good pro and he understands his body really well.”

Sale boss Alex Sanderson was quizzed at his media briefing on Tuesday afternoon about whether he had any Tuilagi update from the England camp ahead of this Saturday’s trip to Leicester. “I have had no communication. I think they are still probably training, Tuesday is their big day right now but no news is good news. I’m expecting that we will get all our lads back in fine fettle and in good health.”

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