Spotlight on Tuilagi as England centre set for return in front of Jones

Ross McLean
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Leicester Tigers v Benetton Treviso - European Rugby Champions Cup
Tuilagi has won 25 England caps (Source: Getty)

Powerhouse centre Manu Tuilagi is set to press his claims for inclusion in England head coach Eddie Jones’s Six Nations plans after being named in Leicester’s starting XV to face Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop tonight.

Jones will be in the stands to run the rule over Tuilagi, who will start at inside centre, as he makes his return from the hamstring strain which has sidelined him for the Tigers’ last three matches.

Should the 24-year-old come through the clash with Quins and then a showdown with London Irish nine days later unscathed, he could be included in England’s training group ahead of their penultimate Championship game with Warren Gatland’s Wales at Twickenham on 12 March.

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill has raised misgivings over Tuilagi’s potential rapid return to the international fold after he only made his comeback from 15 months out with a groin injury in January.

Tuilagi has 25 international caps to his name, and has notched 55 points, but was told by Jones’ predecessor Stuart Lancaster last May that he would not be considered for England selection until January after being convicted of three charges of assault and one of criminal damage.