/ Six Nations 2015

Manu Tuilagi back for England title push

Updated: Tuesday, 11 Mar 2014 21:03 | Comments

Manu Tuilagi (c) hasn't yet played in this year's 6 Nations due to injury
Manu Tuilagi (c) hasn't yet played in this year's 6 Nations due to injury

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England are to name Manu Tuilagi on the bench for their final match of the RBS 6 Nations against Italy after including him in their matchday squad for Rome.

Tuilagi has been recalled at the expense of Alex Goode following his recovery from the torn pectoral muscle that kept him sidelined for six months.

The 22-year-old has played just 70 minutes for his club Leicester since returning to fitness, but head coach Stuart Lancaster believes he is ready for the Stadio Olimpico points grab.

It will be his first appearance for England since last season's Six Nations defeat by Wales in Cardiff, that crushed the visiting team's title hopes.

"Manu trained well with us last week and is up to speed with the way we want to play," Lancaster said.

"Alex has done well for us off the bench and is naturally disappointed, but we believe Manu, with the power and physicality he can bring, is the right choice to be included in the 23 for this game."

The British and Irish Lions wrecking ball can cover centre or wing, with starting wings Jack Nowell and Jonny May offering cover to Mike Brown at full-back.

Billy Twelvetrees and Luther Burrell have forged a formidable midfield partnership in Tuilagi's absence, making it near-impossible for him to regain the number 13 jersey in this Six Nations.

And the strong form of Nowell and May, playing in their first Six Nations, also prevented his omission from the starting XV.

Wasps prop Matt Mullan and Bath centre Kyle Eastmond will travel with the squad to Rome as 24th and 25th men.

England squad
Forwards (13): D Attwood (Bath Rugby), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), T Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), J Launchbury (London Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), J Marler (Harlequins), B Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), C Robshaw (Harlequins), H Thomas (Sale Sharks), M Vunipola (Saracens), D Wilson (Bath Rugby), T Wood (Northampton Saints), T Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

Backs (10): M Brown (Harlequins), L Burrell (Northampton Saints), D Care (Harlequins), L Dickson (Northampton Saints), O Farrell (Saracens), G Ford (Bath Rugby), M Tuilagi, J May (Gloucester Rugby), J Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby).

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