Manu Tuilagi ‘not far away’ from England recall, says Eddie Jones
Eddie Jones has hinted at an England recall for Manu Tuilagi in their autumn series opener against South Africa on November 3.
Tuilagi produced a man-of-the-match performance in Leicester’s Champions Cup win over Scarlets last Friday, scoring his second try in as many matches.
The 27-year-old has been blighted by injuries since Jones took charge of England, making just one substitute appearance under the Australian, but trained as part of England’s 36-man squad at their training camp in Portugal on Thursday.
England vs South Africa
November 3, 2018, 2:00pm
“He’s definitely moving in the right direction,” Jones told Sky Sports News.
“What I was pleased about in the Leicester [vs Scarlets] game was that he was just brilliant at the basics. He did all the simple things really well.
“When he had the opportunity to run hard and through gaps he did, made his tackles, did his clean-out work, really good basics.
“We are looking forward to seeing more of that from Manu.”
Jones added: “He’s in good physical condition. His GPS, the measure of his running metrics during the game, was very similar to a Test match.
“He’s certainly not far away.”
Tuilagi’s return to full health is a welcome boost for Jones, who is without 18 players due to injury and suspension.
Powerful ball-carriers such as Billy and Mako Vunipola, Joe Launchbury and Nathan Hughes are all sidelines and that will force Jones into a change of approach.
“We’re going to have to move the ball a bit more and kick the ball a bit more, a combination of both,” he said.
“We have to be very strategic in the way we play the game because we can’t afford to get into a collision game with the Springboks.”
‘Timing wasn’t right for Wade’
One player who never featured for Jones is Christian Wade, who this week confirmed his retirement from rugby to pursue a career in American football.
Wade scored more Premiership tries than any other player during Jones’ England reign but that wasn’t enough to earn him a second cap.
“You come through and at times there are a lot of good players – Wade has come through and there are a lot of good players in his position,” said Jones.
“He is an outstanding player and I think everyone in rugby wishes him all the best in American football. It’d be great to see him in ‘All or Nothing’, wouldn’t it?
“You look at the players above him here, all good players. The timing just wasn’t right for him.
“Was his size an issue? It’s always been difficult for him but you can use your size to your advantage.
“Maybe he could have done other things in his game to do that.”
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