Rugby Union

Manu Tuilagi back in England frame ahead of pivotal Wales clash

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Manu Tuilagi is in contention to play a role in England's RBS 6 Nations title showdown with Wales on March 12.

Tuilagi has been included in a 33-man training squad who have assembled in Bath to begin preparations for the clash with Warren Gatland's men at Twickenham.

It is the Leicester centre's first appearance in an England squad since the 2014 summer tour to New Zealand after a serious groin injury sidelined him for 15 months.

Exeter back row Dave Ewers also makes his first appearance in Eddie Jones' Six Nations squad after completing his recovery from a knee problem.

Ewers - an original inclusion in the 33-strong elite player squad named in January - takes the place of Sale number eight Josh Beaumont, who has been sidelined by a dislocated shoulder.

Tuilagi nudges Ollie Devoto out of the group, although the Bath centre had already been struggling with concussion.

The imminent end of the 24-year-old's absence from international rugby is cause for genuine excitement as England have sorely missed their most explosive backline ball-carrier.

Having finally made his comeback from his long-standing groin issue in January, Tuilagi then suffered a hamstring strain that forced him to sit out a further three games for Leicester.

In his absence, Owen Farrell and Jonathan Joseph have formed England's centre partnership and are likely to continue working in tandem for the remaining two rounds of the Championship against Wales and France.

Jones has suggested, however, that Tuilagi may be in line for a role from the bench on a weekend that could see the Red Rose snatch Ireland's crown.

"There's always time. He's a good enough player. He's a good enough player to come into the squad. That is the first thing," Jones said.

"I went and watched him play against Harlequins two weeks ago and he looked in pretty good nick.

"He probably only has got 20 minutes of Test rugby in him at the moment but that 20 minutes could be pretty good.

"If Manu comes in and makes a dash, he is going to have a chance of getting into the 23."

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