Tuilagi can 'get back to his best' says Ford

Sat, 02 Sep 2017 06:21
Large manu tuilagi leicester tigers 2017 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: England flyhalf George Ford insisted he had been "nothing but impressed" with Manu Tuilagi as the powerhouse Leicester centre prepares for his return to Premiership action.

Tuilagi is set to make his first appearance in English Rugby Union's top flight since being sidelined by a knee injury in January when he faces Ford's former club Bath in Leicester's league season-opener on Sunday.

Both Tuilagi and Sale wing Denny Solomona were sent home from an England training camp last month for what the Rugby Football Union labelled "team culture issues".

Subsequent reports in the British press said the pair had been disciplined after returning drunk following a late night out.

Tuilagi's indiscretion came just days after England coach Eddie Jones said the midfielder, who has played Test rugby just once in the past three years because of a variety of injury problems, was worth persevering with as the Australian cited his try-scoring performance during a 38-21 win over world champions New Zealand at Twickenham in 2012.

And Ford, now back at Leicester - the club where he launched his career - was convinced Tuilagi could hit those heights again.

"I have been nothing but impressed with Manu around the club," Ford said.

"He is in good spirits. He just wants to play. He wants to train each week, play at the weekend and we will see the best of him I am sure.

"I genuinely believe he can [get back to his best]. He looks in good shape and is training consistently on the field, and I could not be more impressed with the lines he has been running in attack, his communication and what he was doing defensively.

"I want him outside of me, that's for sure. We want to give Manu the ball one-on-one if we can, or give him ball when he has space to run at someone."

Tuilagi has a chequered disciplinary history, with a record including a conviction for assault and a five-week ban for punching England wing Chris Ashton.

He also had to issue an apology after being caught making 'bunny ears' behind the back of former British Prime Minister David Cameron during a Downing Street photo-call in 2013.

Tuilagi was also fined for jumping off a ferry into Auckland Bay after England exited the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

Agence France-Presse

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 November 2017
Cheetahs v Edinburgh 17h30 Bloemfontein
Ulster v Treviso 19h05 Kingspan Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Leinster v Dragons 19h35 RDS Stadium
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 19h45 Kingston Park
Sat, 25 November 2017
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 12h45 Welford Road
Bath v Harlequins 12h45 Recreation Ground
Italy v South Africa 13h00 Rome
Scotland v Australia 14h30 Edinburgh
England v Samoa 15h00 Twickenham
Wales v New Zealand 17h15 Cardiff
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 17h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Ireland v Argentina 17h30 Aviva Stadium
France v Japan 19h00 Paris
Sun, 26 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Liberty Stadium
Kings v Scarlets 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 13h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Allianz Park
London Irish v Wasps 15h00 Madejski Stadium
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 8 6 0 2 31
Saracens 8 6 0 2 29
Leicester Tigers 8 6 0 2 26
Bath 8 5 0 3 24
Gloucester 8 5 0 3 22
Wasps 8 4 0 4 20
Harlequins 8 4 0 3 20
Northampton Saints 8 4 0 4 20
Newcastle Falcons 8 4 0 4 20
Sale Sharks 8 2 0 6 15
Worcester Warriors 8 1 0 7 8
London Irish 8 1 0 7 7