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- Aviva Premiership
- 2nd Mar 2014
- KO 14:00
- Ground: Kingston Park
- Att: 7,073
Manu Tuilagi returns as Leicester Tigers beat Newcastle Falcons
If Stuart (Lancaster) asks me if I'm ready to play I'll say 'absolutely'. Of course, I would be nervous but I always like to be nervous before a game, it keeps me on my toes. I feel I've knocked the rust off my game today. I would have liked to play the whole game and felt I could have.
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England centre Manu Tuilagi was delighted to return to action after a five-month absence in Leicester's 41-18 win at Newcastle.
Tuilagi will link up with Stuart Lancaster's squad on Monday and there was enough in his performance - despite a late sin-binning for a deliberate knock-on - to suggest he could return to the England line-up against Wales next Sunday.
"I was excited to be back and wanted to play the whole 80 minutes," said Tuilagi. "I felt pretty good out there after all the training I have been doing and I've worked hard to get myself back to this point.
"I was pretty nervous and excited at the same time - just to get out there and get the feel of the rugby ball in my hands and to play again. It took a while for me to get the ball but I was straight back into it as far as defence was concerned.
"I'll be going down to training with the England boys tomorrow and we'll take it from there. The boys are doing really well and it'll be really good for me to just go down there and get settled back in there and take things from there.
"I spoke to Stuart last weekend and he said to come down after the game and train and we'll see how it goes. I knew that in the first game back I was bound to be nervous, but I just wanted that ball and I was happy with the first tackle and impact.
"If Stuart asks me if I'm ready to play I'll say 'absolutely'. Of course, I would be nervous but I always like to be nervous before a game, it keeps me on my toes. I feel I've knocked the rust off my game today. I would have liked to play the whole game and felt I could have."
Tuilagi may not have set the game alight but neither did he look like a player who has been out for so long, following a shoulder operation.
"It's been a long road back," he said. "It was a setback when they said it was really off the bone and needed an operation. They had to pull it back up and bolt it back and it took a while to heal.
"The five months have been really tough. I knew the injury was bad because I heard a little crack when it happened and I was really gutted, but that's rugby, you get injured and try to focus on the positives."
Tuilagi was joined in being shown the yellow card by Ben Youngs and Toby Flood.
"I'll have to have a look at those yellow cards," said Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill. "He was quick to get his cards out, but I'm happy with the result and happy to be where we are in a season where we have played rubbish to be honest."
Falcons boss Dean Richards was not enamoured with referee Greg Garner.
"We said at half-time we were getting absolutely nothing from the referee," Richards said.
"He was very inconsistent in his decision-making so we had to be squeaky clean and we gave away two silly penalties away which they kicked and that just made it a little more difficult for us.
"We did play some good stuff in the first half and in the right areas of the field and we didn't do that in the second half.
"You only have to look at the quality of the side we were playing today. They have so many players to call on including those on bench and I thought the boys fronted up today and I thought we played pretty well, it's a just a shame we let it slip in the second half."
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|Friday 28th November|
|19:45||Bath vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 29th November|
|15:00||Leicester Tigers vs Wasps|
|16:30||Exeter vs Saracens|
|Sunday 30th November|
|13:00||London Irish vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Northampton|
|15:15||Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 20th December|
|14:00||Sale vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Bath|
|15:00||Saracens vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Northampton vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st December|
|14:00||Wasps vs London Irish|
|Friday 26th December|
|15:00||London Irish vs London Welsh|
|Saturday 27th December|
|14:00||Sale vs Leicester|
|15:00||Bath vs Exeter|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Saracens|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Wasps|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Northampton|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|15:00||Exeter vs Gloucester|
|15:00||Saracens vs London Irish|
|15:00||Leicester vs Bath|
|15:00||Northampton vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 4th January|
|14:00||Wasps vs Sale|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:00||Sale vs Northampton|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester Tigers|
|Saracens 24 - 31 Northampton|
|Saturday 22nd November|
|London Irish 23 - 33 Bath|
|Exeter 31 - 15 Wasps|
|Friday 21st November|
|Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 Gloucester|
|Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Sunday 16th November|
|Wasps 71 - 7 London Welsh|
|Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 Saracens|
|Saturday 15th November|
|Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle Falcons|
|Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London Irish|
|Friday 14th November|
|Gloucester 15 - 22 Harlequins|
|Northampton 18 - 24 Exeter|
|Sunday 12th October|
|Wasps 29 - 22 Bath|
|Saturday 11th October|
|Northampton 43 - 10 Sale Sharks|
|Saracens 28 - 21 Gloucester|
|Exeter 44 - 24 London Irish|
|London Welsh 3 - 23 Newcastle|
|Friday 10th October|
|Leicester 22 - 16 Harlequins|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com