England stars on the mend for Ireland clash
SIX NATIONS SPOTLIGHT: Manu Tuilagi and fellow centre Henry Slade could figure in the England team to play Ireland in their Six Nations clash at Twickenham on Sunday, according to coach Eddie Jones.
Tuilagi missed the 13-6 victory over Scotland after suffering a groin strain in the opening defeat by France whilst Slade has not played since December after injuring an ankle.
Tuilagi in particular caused the Irish all sorts of problems when England whipped them in a World Cup warm-up match last August.
Ireland can seal the Triple Crown if they beat England – at the same ground they secured the 2018 Grand Slam – whilst Jones’s side can enhance their title hopes with victory.
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“Manu trained fully so should be in contention for selection,” said Jones.
“It’s good to have a quality player back.
“Slade also trained so we have just got to monitor his progress.
“He has a positive chance.
“He’s a quality player. This gives us more options.”
Jones said it was a shame to have lost powerhouse prop Mako Vunipola, who has returned to Tonga the land of his parents birth for family reasons.
However, Jones said there were highly talented replacements for the 29-year-old Saracens star at loosehead prop.
“Mako’s a quality player but we are lucky we are blessed with two outstanding loosehead props in Joe [Marler] and Ellis [Genge], so we can recover the loss of Mako,” said Jones.
“But it’s disappointing to lose him.”