Tigers can't stop Tuilagi joining England camp


Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill is powerless to prevent Manu Tuilagi from linking up with England this week.

Tuilagi impressed in the Tigers' 47-20 Premiership hammering of London Irish on Sunday at the end of a week when England head coach Eddie Jones reiterated his belief the centre could make his international return against Wales in the Six Nations next month.

Cockerill has made no secret of that fact he does not think Tuilagi is ready to make his first international appearance since June 2014 against Warren Gatland's side on March 12 so soon after returning following a long injury lay-off.

The Tigers boss revealed after the rout of the Exiles at Welford Road that Tuilagi is set to train with the England squad this week, but has not changed his opinion on the powerful 24-year-old's readiness.

Cockerill said: "We will have to see. They [England] have all the power so there is no point in having an argument.

"If Eddie wants to play him he will play him. That's the agreement, he is in the EPS [Elite Player Squad].

"I'm not stupid enough to have a fight I can't win, but England are playing well so there's no need to pick him."

Cockerill does agree with Jones that Tuilagi is best suited to playing inside centre. 

He added: "Twelve or 13 is irrelevant. For us [Jean] de Villiers will do certain parts of that job at 12 and 13.

"I think they will pick Manu at 12 as and when. They have got really good options at 13 with Jonathan Joseph and Elliot Daly.

"A really good fit would be Manu at 12 making holes. People will defend Manu and there will space for Joseph or Daly on the outside."