England head coach Eddie Jones has warned Leicester’s Manu Tuilagi he needs to lose weight or risks not being picked for the upcoming Six Nations.
The centre has recently returned from a knee injury but was left out of a recent England training camp by Jones, which led to an air of speculation surrounding his future with the national team.
And speaking to Sky Sports, Jones did not hold back in his assessment of the Samoa-born player’s current condition.
“He still needs to lose a bit of weight – I think those turkeys at Christmas were good! Or maybe the Samoans eat roast pigs, I think he had plenty of that. But he’s moving in the right direction.”
Tuilagi last played for England in the 2016 Six Nations but has not been ruled out of a potential return in the coming weeks.
“Is he in my plans for Six Nations? Potentially. He’s still got the ability to do things that others cannot do. He’s someone we’ll keep watching very closely.”
His England hopes were initially considered under threat following a high tackle on Munster’s Chris Cloete recently. However, having had his citing removed Tuilagi is now free to return to the Twickenham pitch at the discretion of Jones.
The divisive character has been far from missed given England’s resurgence as of late but his presence is one which has the ability to change games, and should he be given a second bite of the cherry expect Tuilagi to have his say on England’s destiny come the end of the campaign.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena