Morning Chronicle - England recall 'full-tilt' Tuilagi for Wales clash

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England recall 'full-tilt' Tuilagi for Wales clash
England recall 'full-tilt' Tuilagi for Wales clash

England recall 'full-tilt' Tuilagi for Wales clash

England coach Eddie Jones said he planned for Manu Tuilagi to be at "full tilt" after recalling the powerhouse centre for Saturday's pivotal Six Nations Championship clash against Wales at Twickenham.

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The injury-plagued Tuilagi returns to midfield after three months out with a torn hamstring for what will be his first Six Nations start in nearly two years.

"Manu is a gain-line accumulator, isn't he?," Jones said after naming his side on Thursday.

"He wins the gain line consistently, draws defenders in which he creates space for other options. He does that better than anyone else in the world when he's at full tilt.

"We're planning for him to be at full tilt on Saturday, mate."

Jones has also restored Courtney Lawes as England captain after the Northampton back-row missed the opening two rounds following a concussion suffered on club duty.

Lawes, who deputised for Owen Farrell as captain during the Autumn internationals, was set to be England's first-choice skipper this Six Nations after fly-half cum centre Farrell was ruled out of the entire tournament following ankle surgery.

Stand-in captain Tom Curry remains in a loose forward trio also featuring No 8 Alex Dombrandt.

Both England and reigning Six Nations champions Wales' title ambitions are on the line this weekend given they have one win and one defeat apiece from their opening two matches.

"They (Tuilagi and Lawes) are both very experienced players, have won big Test matches and understand what's needed for games like the one against Wales," said Jones.

"Manu gives us a different way to attack in the backs and Courtney is a great ball-carrier and destructive defender. They bring that bit of edge to the team."

- 'Leads by example' -

The veteran Australian boss added: "Courtney was going to be captain when Owen was unavailable, so it's a natural change back to the guy who was going to be captain.

"He has good skills around the players, when he speaks they listen, he leads by example."

But in a surprise move from, scrum-half Ben Youngs must surpass Jason Leonard's record as England's most capped player by coming on as a replacement for what would be his 115th cap after Jones named him on the bench.

Instead the three-times capped Harry Randall remains the starting scrum-half after wearing the No 9 shirt in England's 33-0 rout of Italy in Rome last time out.

"We want to put some pace in the game early," said Jones ahead of England's first home game this Six Nations.

"We feel like there will be opportunities against Wales early in the game and Harry each week has been in increasingly better form.

"He's sharp around the ruck and gives us that instinctiveness with his ability to take quick taps and run quickly."

Former Australia coach Jones, who compared Youngs to Wallaby great George Gregan, added: "And then we have Ben Youngs to finish the game.

"These games go to the wire...imagine having a half-back with 114 caps in the best form of his career coming on to manage that last 20 minutes.

"It's a great testament to his resilience and durability. To play 115 caps, you have to have that desire to keep improving.

"I was lucky enough to coach George Gregan and they're similar in their mindset, different players but both good team men who know their strengths and weaknesses."

England (15-1)

Freddie Steward; Max Malins, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Jack Nowell; Marcus Smith, Harry Randall; Alex Dombrandt, Tom Curry, Courtney Lawes (capt); Maro Itoje, Charlie Ewels; Kyle Sinckler, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge

Replacements: Jamie George, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, Nick Isiekwe, Sam Simmonds, Ben Youngs, George Ford, Elliot Daly

Coach: Eddie Jones (AUS)