England coach Eddie Jones delighted with Manu Tuilagi's return
By Jonathan Moar
Last Updated: 10/03/16 5:45pm
England head coach Eddie Jones revealed he is delighted to have Manu Tuilagi back in the match-day squad for Saturday's crucial Six Nations encounter with Wales.
Jones has named Tuilagi in the 23-man squad, the first time the Leicester centre has been included by the coach since he was appointed in November.
"He has an innate sense of rugby. He is a very good rugby player," said Jones.
"He ran two lines on Tuesday and cut a hole in our defence. So, Paul Gustard wasn't too happy. He's got power and he's got pace, and he's a good player. That's not a bad combination."
Leicester coach Richard Cockerill stated earlier in the week that he felt Tuilagi might not be ready for a return to Test rugby. But Jones was not willing to respond to the comments.
He said: "I'm not debating with Richard. I don't pick the Leicester side, he doesn't pick the England side."
"He ran two lines on Tuesday and cut a hole in our defence. So, Paul Gustard wasn't too happy."
Eddie Jones, England head coach
While Tuilagi is among the replacements, Jones has named an unchanged starting XV for the game that could ultimately decide the winner of the Six Nations title.
"We picked our best 23 for the game. It's obviously our most important game as it's our next one," added Jones.
"We're very happy with our squad; there is great competition for places. We've made a few changes on the bench - some players have been unlucky, but we're in a good position."
Jones wouldn't be drawn on Wales coach Warren Gatland's comments that the game is like a 'cup final,' and believes the sides' last meeting - a 28-25 Wales win in the World Cup - has no bearing on Saturday's clash.
"We're a new England. We don't refer back to that game," the England coach said.
"70 per cent of the players are the same, but 30 per cent are new to Test rugby. We have a different philosophy to how we play, how we train and how we behave. That game has no relevance to us on Saturday."
Meanwhile, England captain Dylan Hartley played down the significance of the contest, saying it is just 'another big game'.
"It's just another big game for us. It's the next game on our journey - it doesn't matter who we play," he said.
"We treat it with respect and prepare accordingly. I'm hugely excited to be out there and seeing where we can take this team."