Tuilagi fitness boost for England
4:13pm Monday 4th February 2013 in © Press Association 2014
England centre Manu Tuilagi is available for Sunday's RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland at Aviva Stadium after completing his recovery from an ankle injury.
Tuilagi missed Saturday's 38-18 victory over Scotland but coach Stuart Lancaster confirmed he will train fully this week, while number eight Ben Morgan is struggling to recover from his ankle problem for the trip to Dublin.
"The last message we had about Manu was that he's fit and available to train. He's coming in this afternoon. He's available for Sunday," Lancaster said.
"Ben is still in a boot. The last prognosis is that he will struggle to be available for the weekend, but I'll know definitely tomorrow (Tuesday)."
Lancaster admitted that Tuilagi's availability has left him with a selection dilemma in midfield following Billy Twelvetrees' successful Test debut against the Scots, but hinted that the Leicester wrecking ball will start.
Brad Barritt was shifted to outside centre for the Calcutta Cup match to accommodate Twelvetrees, but despite a solid performance could fail to make the 23 for Dublin.
"There are selection decisions across the field and that's one of them. Billy played well and Brad's contribution as always was positive," Lancaster said.
"But Manu brings a unique set of skills and attributes to the game and the team, as we saw in his performance against the All Blacks.
"Genuinely, I'll wait and see how he trains tomorrow and on Wednesday before I make any decisions on the centre partnership.
"The reason I prefer to announce the team later in the week is that it allows me to look at the players in training and see who's up to speed and who isn't."