Tuilagi can give England ‘X-factor’

Manu Tuilagi

Former England coach Stuart Lancaster opted to leave Manu Tuilagi out of his 2015 World Cup squad

Wales centre Jonathan Davies is warning Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi can give England their “X-factor” in Saturday’s potential Six Nations title-decider.

Tuilagi has been recalled to England’s squad after a 15-month absence from international duty because of injuries and disciplinary reasons.

“He’s definitely an X-factor player; extremely strong, powerful, with great subtleties in his game,” said Davies.

Both men were missing from the teams’ most recent encounter in the World Cup.

But Davies, Jamie Roberts, Tuilagi and Owen Farrell were team-mates on the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand – where the Welsh duo paired up in the decisive third Teat.

Tuilagi is widely tipped for a place in the England 23 at Twickenham, though Jonathan Joseph has so far this year been partnered in the centre by Owen Farrell, who can also play at fly-half.

“I’m sure they’d want to throw him in there, whether or not to start is down to them,” said Davies.

Tuilagi is viewed as an inside centre by new England coach Eddie Jones, and could come in direct opposition with Wales powerhouse Jamie Roberts.

“Hopefully I can get out of the way of that collision,” joked Davies. “They’re two great players, and if they do decide to play Tuilagi, it’ll be a tough contest.

“He’s shown in the past he has little subtleties, an offloading game – he is hard to bring down when he gets going but he creates space for other people.

Davies, who will re-join the Scarlets next season, emerged unscathed from his Top 14 appearance for Clermont against Grenoble last Friday.

He is looking forward to playing a more active role than in Wales’ World Cup win at Twickenham in October, when he was a pundit for S4C.

“I was on the sidelines, it was almost like being a “mad Taff” (supporter) with a daffodil on,” he added.

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