Six Nations: Shaun Edwards believes Tuilagi will be involved against Wales
Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards expects Manu Tuilagi to feature for England in Sunday's Six Nations showdown.
Last Updated: 04/03/14 4:58pm
The Leicester centre has been recalled by Stuart Lancaster after finally recovering from the pectoral muscle injury he sustained early this season.
Tuilagi has not played for England since the 30-3 mauling by Wales in Cardiff last March that decided the Six Nations title.
But he returned to competitive action for the Tigers against Newcastle at the weekend, and Lancaster saw enough to add him to his squad for training at their Surrey base.
Stuart Lancaster revealed on Monday that Tuilagi and wing Marland Yarde, who is also back in the squad following injury, would have to "go some" if they wanted to be involved next weekend.
But when Edwards was asked if he expected to see Tuilagi involved against Wales, Edwards said: "Yes.
"I don't know about starting, I don't pick the England team, but I definitely think he will be involved."
The defending champions are hopeful that star centre Jonathan Davies will be passed fit for the clash after suffering the same injury as Tuilagi during Wales' opening autumn series loss to South Africa four months ago.
Davies came through 65 minutes of the Scarlets' RaboDirect PRO12 victory over Munster on Saturday after a 40-minute run against LV= Cup opponents London Irish last month.
The 25-year-old is likely to partner Jamie Roberts in midfield, with George North moving back to the wing after playing at centre in the 27-6 win over France last month.
Lock Alun-Wyn Jones is also set to come back into the side in place of Jake Ball after missing the win over France due to a foot infection.
"It was great see him (Davies) come through the game on Saturday," Edwards added.
"He has worked very hard with the conditioners during his time off, and I think that showed in the way he played on Saturday against a very strong opponent in Munster. He is looking forward to competing for a Wales shirt again.
"Ideally, he would have been playing week in, week out, but it is not always like that. Sometimes with special players you make special exceptions.
"It is nice to have that (midfield) combination (Davies and Roberts). If Jonathan gets the nod, it is good to have that kind of understanding. They have played together for a long time."
Edwards also believes head coach Warren Gatland faces a welcome selection dilemma at scrum-half, with Rhys Webb expected to retain his starting place ahead of veteran Mike Phillips after impressing against France.
"I presume for Warren it is a dilemma, and it's a great position to have," Edwards said.
"You've got a number nine (Phillips) who has probably won an extreme amount of trophies over his career as an international player, and has just come off a winning Lions series.
"And you've got a young guy (Webb) who played exceptionally well on his first start (for Wales). It is a kind of headache that you want as chief selector."
Edwards is wary of the threat of England half-backs Danny Care and Owen Farrell and young lock Joe Launchbury, who all produced star performances in the enthralling win over Ireland last time out..
"We realise they (England) pose a vast array of threats, particularly the half-backs. I have great admiration for those two guys," he said.
"The player who probably doesn't get as many plaudits is Joe Launchbury.
"As a kid, I coached him at Wasps and I was looking at my notes from years ago. I think he had just made his (Wasps) debut at the time, and I said he was going to play for England.
"I just think he epitomises the England team. They are very hard-working, they are honest and they are up and coming young players who are obviously in the big time now. I think Joe Launchbury is an outstanding player."