Tuilagi driven by desire to end England exile


Manu Tuilagi admits it has been difficult to be a spectator as England have played on without him, but the Leicester Tigers centre is now focused on securing a return to international action.

The 24-year-old has not represented his country since 2014, with disciplinary problems having led to him missing the Rugby World Cup on home soil and a string of injuries delaying a potential return.

But Tuilagi, who has 25 caps, is in contention to feature in the Six Nations after joining up with the squad on Monday, having played the full match for Leicester against London Irish over the weekend.

Speaking about his recent international exile, he said: "You've just got to stay focused, which is quite tough especially if you are out for a while.

"It's quite tough to stay mentally strong. Watching the boys and you can't do anything to help them on the field."

Tuilagi has been released from England duty to allow him to feature for the Tigers against Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership this Saturday and he is enjoying the game time.

"It feels nice just to be back on the field again," he continued. "It's been a while and I've been looking forward to this moment to getting back on the field and just playing.

"Just to get out there with the lads is a really good feeling. Being back down with England, it is great to see the boys doing so well."

Eddie Jones has enjoyed a winning start to his England tenure and has the full backing of Tuilagi, who added: "He's got a lot of experience and has been around for a long time as well so he knows what he is doing.

"He said just keep working hard and the opportunity will come."

England host Wales on March 12.