Eddie Jones recently announced a 37-man squad for an upcoming training camp which will see players of all experience come together to plot their plan for the coming season.
The squad contains a mixture of established players who represented the British and Irish Lions during the summer, in addition to those who travelled to Argentina and also ones for the future who have yet to make their England debuts.
Jones is clearly planning for the future as he aims to build depth ahead of the 2019 World Cup in Japan in two years time but there is one player who is making a return that supporters and the head coach himself, are excited about – Manu Tuilagi.
Tuilagi hasn’t pulled on an England shirt since the 2016 Six Nations due to some serious injuries suffered over the past 18 months. But the 26-year-old is now back in the fold and the media clearly wanted to get Jones’ views on the powerful Leicester Tigers centre at today’s media session.
“It’s nice to see him back training, back into it. He was a player that demolished New Zealand and we need those sort of players.”
Jones was quizzed on whether Tuilagi can have a long and successful career and the Australian sees no reason why he can’t, as long as he keeps fit.
“If he can get himself fit, definitely, and if his motivation and desire are right, definitely. He will be an outstanding player for us and can add to the depth of the squad.”
Jones revealed that consultation between England and Leicester is constantly taking place regarding the player’s welfare and that he even met up with Tuilagi before the England squad set off to Argentina at the beginning of the summer.
“We’ll just have a look at him in camp. Those sort of discussions are ongoing all the time. Our medical staff is out talking to the club [Leicester]. In most cases we’ve got pretty good relationships so that’s an ongoing process. I caught up with Manu before the tour and had a quick chat with him, we went to a cafe in Leicester, I wouldn’t advise you to go, it wasn’t too flash!”
Although Tuilagi has a long way to go, Jones admits that with a player of his quality, he is worth the time and effort to get him right.
“We’re confident he’s moving in the right direction but he’s still a hell of a long way away from playing Test rugby.
“But I do know he can demolish the All Blacks, so he’s worth the time, worth the effort, he’s worth a lot of care.”
Hopefully, Tuilagi can have an injury-free season and we will see him line out for England in the November internationals.
You can watch our video footage of today’s press conference below.
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