Tuilagi returns to England squad

Manu Tuilagi

Tuilagi, who last played for England in June 2014, was ruled out of the 2015 World Cup after he pleaded guilty to assaulting two female police officers

Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi has been named in a 33-man England training squad for the Six Nations game with Wales at Twickenham.

Tuilagi, who last played for England in 2014, has been out for 15 months with groin and hamstring problems.

Exeter flanker Dave Ewers is also included in the squad, after recovering from a knee injury.

England lead the Six Nations with three wins from three games, while Wales are unbeaten going into the 12 March match.

Tuilagi has scored 11 tries in 25 England appearances but his career has been affected by off-field disciplinary problems, including jumping into Auckland harbour during the 2011 World Cup.

The Samoa-born 24-year-old was ruled out of the 2015 World Cup after he pleaded guilty to assaulting two female police officers – although he later said he had “owned up to what I’ve not done”.

He returned to action for his club side Leicester in January but picked up a hamstring injury in his third game back, further delaying his international comeback.

Leicester team-mate Jean de Villiers believes Tuilagi should not be rushed back but says England are “better off” with the centre in the squad.

“I can understand [England coach] Eddie Jones would want to get him involved as soon as possible,” the former South Africa captain told BBC Radio 5 live.

“But you have to make sure the short-term goals won’t halt long-term progress. He needs to be playing international rugby for another 10 years so you need to make the right decisions now.

“You would want Manu in that 23-man [matchday] squad. Whether he starts or you bring him on for 20 minutes, he will make a big impact and England are better off. The balance of the side is so much better with someone like him there.”

England squad

Forwards: Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Jack Clifford (Harlequins), Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Wasps), Paul Hill (Northampton Saints), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens).

Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens),George Ford (Bath Rugby), Alex Goode (Saracens), Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Marland Yarde (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

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