Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lancaster Will Resist Temptation to Rush Back Injured Tuilagi

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lancaster Will Resist Temptation to Rush Back Injured Tuilagi

Article excerpt

ENGLAND coach Stuart Lancaster is wary of rushing Manu Tuilagi's rehabilitation after the Leicester centre was ruled out of Saturday's RBS Six Nations opener against Scotland.

Tuilagi will miss the clash at Twickenham with the ankle injury which has prevented him from participating in a practice session since his withdrawal from the build-up to the Tigers' victory over Toulouse eight days ago.

The explosive 21-year-old is expected to resume full training by the middle of next week and has a chance of returning against Ireland on February 10.

Lancaster, who has already decided who will partner Brad Barritt in the centres for the Calcutta Cup showdown, is refusing to take any shortcuts in the recovery of his most dangerous player.

He said: "Manu has a high ankle sprain which is one of those injuries which can settle quickly or take longer.

"We want to make sure Manu is right and does not rush back and break down again. It's one of those injuries which can go again.

"It's taken until now to get him to run in a straight line.

"One of Manu's strengths is changing direction and we want to make sure he can do that without suffering a recurrence."

Tuilagi was devastating during last autumn's record 38-21 victory over world champions New Zealand, scoring one try and creating two more, and when fit has been an ever-present since making his Test debut in 2011.

Lancaster (pictured right) will announce on Thursday whether the inexperienced Billy Twelvetrees or Jonathan Joseph will partner Barritt with fly-halves Toby Flood or Owen Farrell also possibilities.

Twelvetrees would start at inside centre with Barritt switching to outside, while Joseph would be a straight replacement at 13.

Flood can play at 12, while Farrell can fill both positions.

Lancaster added: "I'm not sure there is a like for like replacement for Manu. All options are open.

"One is to play Jamie Joseph at 13.

"He's been playing full-back for London Irish for the last three or four weeks. …

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