Manu Tuilagi

Manu Tuilagi on the wing may help Australia, says Matt Dawson

Centre Tuilagi has only started on the wing once in 44 England caps.

The move makes way for Owen Farrell to start at 12 alongside fly-half Marcus Smith, with Henry Slade at 13.

Dawson said Tuilagi is "world-class in midfield" and selecting him in the back three "does not make any sense".

Adam Radwan, who opened the scoring in the 69-3 thrashing of Tonga last weekend, drops out of the matchday squad to make room for Tuilagi, with Jones only naming two backs on the bench.

Manu Tuilagi has withdrawn from the England squad 41 hours after call-up

Following last weekend’s results in the Gallagher Premiership semi-finals, seven players from the two beaten teams were called up by Eddie Jones.

Bristol, who dramatically lost to Harlequins after extra-time, provided Will Capon, Max Malins and Harry Randall while Sale, who lost at Exeter, had four selections in Ben Curry, Curtis Langdon, Bevan Rodd and Tuilagi.

Manu Tuilagi one of seven players added to England training squad

Tuilagi is three games into his comeback from the Achilles injury sustained in September and is the only senior player to be selected in the 36-strong group that will continue preparations at the Lensbury.

England missed his power in midfield during the autumn and Six Nations campaigns but the Sale centre could now feature in next months Tests, which are preceded by a second string international against Scotland ‘A’.

Tuilagi named in Scrum V's 36-man Lions squad

The 2013 tourist has been out of action since September, but made the squad on the BBC Scrum V Rugby podcast selected by 2009 and 2013 tourists Tommy Bowe and Adam Jones, as well as former Wales fly-half Nick Robinson and presenters Gareth Rhys Owen and Lauren Jenkins.

Bowe and Jones are best remembered for their exploits on the 2009 Lions tour in South Africa, where the Irishman was one of the standout players on the tour and the Welshman was tasked with repressing Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira. However, they both played alongside Tuilagi four years later in Australia.

Manu Tuilagi has added third string to his fitness fight after dabbling in hiking and salsa

Tuilagi has been exploring various ways of helping his recovery, including hiking and learning to salsa, but he is now concentrating on running for the first time since injuring his leg in September last year.

The severity of the Achilles injury raised serious doubts about his ability to make it back in Sale colours before the end of this season but he is now on course to play a key role in their bid for a Premiership playoff place and that would also surely put the England centre back in the Lions selection mix.

England centre Ollie Lawrence flattered by Manu Tuilagi comparisons

England embark on their Guinness Six Nations campaign next month without Tuilagi, who is continuing his recovery from a serious Achilles injury.

But in 21-year-old Worcester centre Lawrence, England boss Eddie Jones has a player with similar traits to Tuilagi, given his game-breaking prowess and physical presence.

Lawrence, who was a promising footballer as a child at Aston Villa and Birmingham, made his Test debut off the bench against Italy in October, then started Autumn Nations Cup victories over Georgia and Ireland.

Manu Tuilagi's projected return date as England centre races to be fit for Lions

Tuilagi hasn’t played since injuring himself for Sale Sale in a match against Northampton in September. The rampaging centre has managed just 43 caps for England and a single Test for the Lions against Australia on the 2013 tour, despite winning his first international cap a decade ago in 2011, due to a career that has been ravaged by injury.

England suffer double injury blow in Sale's win at Northampton

Lawes departed in the ninth minute after falling awkwardly when challenging Tom Curry for a high ball, the Saints second row catching his right ankle in the turf as his body twisted on landing.

Soon after, England midfielder Tuilagi followed him off the pitch having taken a bang to what appeared to be his left achilles during a bulldozing carry out of defence when Sale were pinned in their own 22.

Sale's Manu Tuilagi has changed tack, taking a knee a week after he remained standing at Harlequins

Following a week where there was much commentary about how Sale and their large contingent of South African players had lined up prior to their loss at Harlequins, the matter even being raised by politicians in South Africa, Tuilagi was one of five Sharks players who took a knee at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The Sale South African contingent, which included recent World Cup winners Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager, remained standing but they did wear Rugby Against Racism t-shirts their kneeling colleagues also had on.  

Frustration over Radradra and Tuilagi being starved of the ball for their new clubs

Fans were widely anticipating the Bristol Bears and Premiership debut of Fijian powerhouse Radradra, who arrived at the club from Bordeaux, after his sublime showing at the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

England centre Tuilagi completed a high-profile transfer from Leicester Tigers to Sale over the break, bringing one of the world’s most dominant ball carriers to an already power-packed roster.