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Tuilagi’s imminent return good news for Leicester and England

| 03.03.2014

England and Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi is set to step up his return from injury by playing in his side’s Aviva Premiership clash with Newcastle Falcons on Sunday.

The England international has not featured for club or country since picking up a chest muscle injury in September but now he is ready to boost Richard Cockerill’s side’s bid for silverware this season.

“Manu has been good and training well,” Cockerill told BBC Sport.

“He has only played one game all season. We are delighted to have him back and I am sure he will get on at some part of the game and get some time under his belt.”

The East Midlands side, who are 33/1 outsiders for Heineken Cup glory, face a daunting trip to Clermont in the quarter-finals in April but Tuilagi’s return will boost their chances of victory, on at odds of 5/1 with Ladbrokes.

But it is in the Premiership where Tuilagi could have the greater impact with the Tigers sitting in fourth place and sitting in the play-offs as they bid to win an 11th top flight title.

Leicester are currently 5/1 to retain the title they won last season with Ladbrokes and if the 22-year-old produces a quick return to the form that made him an England regular, that price could shorten soon.

While Leicester are set to benefit from the powerful centres return to fitness, Stuart Lancaster has insisted it will be difficult for Tuilagi to feature in England’s remaining two Six Nations fixtures.

England are 11/8 favourites to win a first Six Nations championship since 2011 and face a crucial clash with Wales before travelling to Rome to face Italy on the final weekend of the competition.

But Lancaster believes the Samoan-born England star will struggle to force his way into the line-up for the championship and Triple Crown deciding games.

“The good thing is he is back and hopefully we will bring him in to camp next week,” the England coach told the BBC.

“He has been out for such a long time and not been able to train so we will bring him in next week and spend some time with him. But it would be a big step.”

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Oliver Yew