Eddie Jones says England are “cautiously optimistic” that Manu Tuilagi will recover from a groin strain in time to face New Zealand at Twickenham this weekend.
Tuilagi, 27, was withdrawn from the bench on the eve of Saturday’s nailbiting 12-11 victory over South Africa after sustaining the injury during a training session at the squad’s Portugal camp.
He was set to make his first international appearance since 2016 against the Springboks after recovering from serious groin, knee and hamstring injuries, only for his groin to tighten up.
But it is hoped the Leicester centre will resume full training on Tuesday.
“Manu is back and progressing well — we’re cautiously optimistic he’ll be available this week,” said England coach Jones.
The outlook on Courtney Lawes’ back injury is similar, with Jones hoping he will be available for Saturday after being ruled out against South Africa.
Less promising, however, is the ankle problem that forced Tom Curry to depart in the second half and now makes him a significant doubt for the second autumn international.
If the Sale openside fails to recover, Sam Underhill is likely to take his place in the back row.
“Tom Curry is off to see the doctor so we’ll know more about him after that but we’re sadly pessimistic about his chances.” Jones said
jw/iwd/bsp (Additional editing by Sean McMahon)
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