Manu Tuilagi could make surprise appearance for England against Australia

Duncan Bech 13:04 22/11/2018
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Aki last came up against Tuilagi in a college game 12 years ago.

Manu Tuilagi has one last training session to prove his fitness for England‘s final autumn series international against Australia at Twickenham.

Tuilagi was expected to be ruled out of Saturday’s climax to the autumn by the groin strain that has prevented him from playing this month, only to be retained in a 26-man squad that is making final preparations to face the Wallabies.

Eddie Jones names his team at lunchtime on Thursday (UK time) and was assessing Tuilagi’s availability after Wednesday afternoon’s make-or-break session.

The England head coach stated on Monday that Leicester’s powerhouse centre was “very doubtful”, but in a surprise twist to his long-running fitness saga he could participate against Australia.

“We need to find out where he’s at and whether he’s a 100 per cent,” defence coach John Mitchell said.

“We expect him to train this afternoon, but like all players we intend to have restricted training activities based on their individual needs.”

Tuilagi was primed to make his first England appearance for two years in the autumn opener against South Africa, only to be withdrawn from the bench when his groin tightened up in training.

Jones has been cautious over his fitness ever since, mindful of the long run of groin, knee, hamstring and pectoral injuries that have blighted his career.

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