Tuilagi and Lawes return to the mix
February 12, 2012
Manu Tuilagi in action against Exeter Chiefs © Getty Images
Manu Tuilagi and Courtney Lawes are in contention to feature against Wales after returning to the England fold after missing their two opening victories of the 2012 Six Nations.
Tuilagi, the Leicester centre, and Northampton lock Lawes will be among 30 players who will meet up for training at England's Pennyhill Park base tomorrow. Tuilagi, one of the few success stories of England's Word Cup campaign, made his comeback from a hamstring injury in Leicester's Aviva Premiership defeat to Exeter.
Tigers fly-half Toby Flood also rejoins the England squad, having been released last week to get some game-time under his belt following a knee ligament injury. Lawes started in the back row for Northampton against Newcastle after shaking off a knee problem.
All three players will be pushing for a place in the England side that faces Wales at Twickenham on February 25.
With no game this weekend, Tom Palmer has been released back to Stade Francais for their Top 14 clash with Toulon at a sold-out Stade de France. Palmer is the only member of the England squad that beat Italy 19-15 to be released today.
The 30-man squad will train until Thursday, when interim head coach Stuart Lancaster plans to make another group of players available for Premiership duty. The return of Flood, Tuilagi and Lawes to the England equation leaves Lancaster with a positive selection headache for the remainder of the Six Nations.
Lancaster must decide whether to replace Charlie Hodgson with Flood and whether to break up the all-Saracens midfield of Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt to make room for Tuilagi. If Lawes was to return to the second row, one of Mouritz Botha or Palmer would have to make way.
Meanwhile, Bath prop David Wilson has remained with his club to continue treatment on a jaw injury.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park