Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

England 'cautiously optimistic' over Tuilagi fitness ahead of New Zealand clash

Eddie Jones is hoping Tuilagi is fit to face the All Blacks GETTY IMAGESEddie Jones is hoping Tuilagi is fit to face the All Blacks
Shannon Reynolds | 09 November, 2018, 07:41

England are "cautiously optimistic" that Manu Tuilagi will recover from his groin strain in time to face New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.

"Seeing him in your team settles the boys down knowing he is there".

Tuilagi was set to make his first global appearance since 2016 against the Springboks having recovered from serious groin, knee and hamstring injuries, only for his groin to tighten up.

Ben Youngs has welcomed the return of England's game-breaker Manu Tuilagi and is itching to see him let loose on the All Blacks this weekend.

His performance against the All Blacks in 2012 inspired a 38-12 victory that sent Twickenham into delirium. I'm really pleased he's able to get back out there.

Tom Curry has been ruled out of the remainder of the autumn series by the ankle injury sustained against South Africa, so his place among the 25 in contention for the All Blacks goes to Sam Underhill. Underhill is expected to replace him when Jones names his team on Thursday.

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England have otherwise been given a clean bill of health ahead of Saturday's visit of New Zealand to Twickenham - the first time the rivals have met in four years.

Backs: Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks), Danny Care (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens) co-captain, George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Te'o (Worcester Warriors), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers). England are well versed in what to expect, however.

"You know against New Zealand you're going to have to score tries, simply trying to slot penalties probably isn't going to be enough because of the threat they pose".

"Tom injured his ankle and we don't how long he'll be out for, but he won't be back for our next three Tests", Borthwick said.

"We don't want to get lost in what they do and how they play and everything like that".

'So having guys like him and other guys is vital because you need guys that are going to be game changers or game-breakers and he's certainly one of those guys, so he's going to be important if he's involved'.

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