/ Rugby

England centre Manu Tuilagi returns from injury for trip to Ireland

Updated: Monday, 04 Feb 2013 16:28 | Comments

England centre Manu Tuilagi was instrumental in demolishing Ireland at Twickenham last St Patrick's Day
England centre Manu Tuilagi was instrumental in demolishing Ireland at Twickenham last St Patrick's Day

England centre Manu Tuilagi is available for Sunday's RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland at Aviva Stadium after completing his recovery from an ankle injury.

Tuilagi missed Saturday's 38-18 victory over Scotland but coach Stuart Lancaster confirmed he will train fully this week, while number eight Ben Morgan is struggling to recover from his ankle problem for the trip to Dublin.

"The last message we had about Manu was that he's fit and available to train. He's coming in this afternoon. He's available for Sunday," Lancaster said.

"Ben is still in a boot. The last prognosis is that he will struggle to be available for the weekend, but I'll know definitely tomorrow."

Saracens flanker Will Fraser has been called up as injury cover for Morgan while Wasps number eight Billy Vunipola was undergoing a fitness test on his ankle injury at Twickenham this afternoon.

England's showdown with Ireland has taken on greater significance following their emphatic opening-day victories over Scotland and Wales respectively.

Adding to the sense it could be an early Six Nations title decider is the damage done to France's championship aspirations by their shock 23-18 defeat by Italy in Rome yesterday.

"Italy confirmed what I thought about the strength of Italian rugby. They've significantly improved. Last year we found out how difficult it is to beat them in the Stadio Olimpico," Lancaster said.

"Their performance merited the victory so credit to them and it throws the championship wide open in a number of ways.

"France will be looking for a response at the weekend. The quality of Italy's performance was the best I've seen. They're maturing as a team."

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