Lawes and Tuilagi return to bolster England’s Six Nations chances
Courtney Lawes and Manu Tuilagi will make their return to the England squad for the Twickenham clash with Wales, and this will boost the chances of Stuart Lancaster’s men justifying their 9/2 price to win the Six Nations.
Lawes has shaken off knee troubles which had kept him out of England’s opening two victories, and after starting in the back row for Northampton against Newcastle, he has been handed a recall by coach Lancaster.
Tuilagi too will meet up with the squad for training on Monday, this following the Leicester centre’s return to action in their defeat to Exeter.
A revelation at the World Cup, Tuilagi’s inclusion will greatly aid the side in their bid to overcome Wales at 6/5 in the Six Nations odds in their upcoming match.
His return though, along with others, could leave some difficult decisions for Lancaster with regards as to who he rotates from a side that has achieved a 100 per cent record under his guidance so far.
The all-Saracens midfield of Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt has worked well for Lancaster, but he would have to withdraw one of these players to make room for Tuilagi, whose stellar performances at the World Cup would seem to necessitate his inclusion from the off.
Similarly, one of Mouritz Botha or Tom Palmer would have to be withdrawn to make way for Lawes to slot into the second row, though much could depend on whether or not the lock features prominently during his next outing for club side Northampton.
Another selection problem is posed in the form of fly-half Toby Flood, who got the game time he needed to be considered for an international outing during the Leicester Tigers’ weekend loss to Exeter.
Charlie Hodgson would be the man to miss out should Flood be chosen to start against Wales, and it is sure to be a competitive training environment as each man hopes to prove to Lancaster they are worthy of the shirt.