Tuilagi in a race against time
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Henry Slade has been called up by England for the first time in the 2020 Six Nations as he steps up his recovery from an ankle problem, while Manu Tuilagi now looks to be in a race against time to make the Ireland match.
Slade sustained the injury in Exeter’s 31-22 Premiership victory over Leicester in mid-December, forcing him to miss the opening two rounds of the championship.
A statement released by England revealed that Slade and Tuilagi will continue their rehabilitation when they join up with a 25-man squad for a three-day camp in Kensington.
Tuilagi suffered a groin strain in the 17-24 defeat by France that launched the campaign in deflating fashion, forcing him to sit out Saturday’s Calcutta Cup victory over Scotland.
It was hoped he would miss just one game, but his absence from the 25-strong group named by Eddie Jones suggests he also faces a race against time to be fit for Ireland’s visit to Twickenham on Sunday week.
Slade is an alternative to Tuilagi at outside centre, but the clash with Andy Farrell’s unbeaten team may also arrive too soon for him, pointing to Jonathan Joseph’s retention in the number 13 jersey.
Courtney Lawes was involved against France and Scotland but has been rested for the camp that begins on Thursday.
Sale centre Cameron Redpath has also been summoned in addition to the 25.
Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Ben Earl (Saracens), Charlie Ewels (Bath), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Will Stuart (Bath), Sam Underhill (Bath), Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Backs: Elliot Daly (Saracens), Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), George Furbank (Northampton Saints), Willi Heinz (Gloucester), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Ollie Thorley (Gloucester), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)