LONDON (Reuters) – England center Manu Tuilagi is fit to face Ireland in Sunday’s Six Nations match after he recovered from a groin injury sustained in the tournament opener, coach Eddie Jones said on Wednesday.
Tuilagi limped off early in England’s shock 24-17 loss to France in Paris due to a low grade strain that also kept him out of the Calcutta Cup win over Scotland the following week.
England are fourth in the standings with five points while Ireland are second with nine and Jones has retained 27 players ahead of the match at Twickenham.
“He’s good,” Jones said when asked about Tuilagi’s fitness. “(He) trained fully today so he should be in contention for selection. It’s good to have a quality player back.”
England prop Mako Vunipola is not in the squad after he traveled back to Tonga for family reasons but Jones said his team would cope.
“He’s a quality player but we’re lucky we’re blessed with two outstanding loosehead props in Joe Marler and Ellis Genge,” Jones added. “We can certainly cover the loss of Mako but it is disappointing to lose him.”
Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby), Ben Earl (Saracens), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Will Stuart (Bath Rugby), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby).
Backs: Elliot Daly (Saracens), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), George Furbank (Northampton Saints), Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)