Injury deals blow to Tuilagi's Six Nations hopes


Manu Tuilagi's hopes of making an appearance in the latter stages of England's Six Nations campaign have been dealt a blow due to a hamstring injury.

Tuilagi returned to action following a 15-month layoff with a persistent groin problem as a replacement in Leicester Tigers' 30-27 Premiership win over Northampton Saints on January 9.

The 24-year-old - who has not featured for England since March 2014 - started the 47-7 Champions Cup win over Benetton Treviso before scoring his first try in the 36-21 loss at Stade Francais.

Though he missed out on Eddie Jones' first squad as England coach, the Australian was keen to monitor Tuilagi's recovery with the hope of using him in the latter stages of the tournament, targeting a return for the Wales clash on March 12.

However, the centre is set for another spell on the sidelines after sustaining a hamstring injury, reducing his chances of returning to international action in the coming months.

"Manu has just tweaked a hamstring which will probably mean a couple of weeks out," Leicester's director of rugby Richard Cockerill said.

"He's done well since his return from a long-term injury and we're looking after him. We've got guys like Mat Tait and Matt Smith who have been in good form this season so we have options in the backline."

Courtney Lawes is another injury concern for Eddie Jones, but defence coach Paul Gustard believes he will ready for the opening match against Scotland on February 7.

"He's got a small hamstring strain but he'll be alright for next week," he said.