Manu Tuilagi, Courtney Lawes back in England Six Nations selection mix vs Wales, says coach Martin Gleeson | Rugby Union News

“We’re all good. Everyone’s trained today, we had a big session and everyone’s pulled through. So we’re in a good spot. Manu adds a lot so it gives you another dimension to potentially play off. It’s great having him back in the mix for selection “- England coach Martin Gleeson

Last Updated: 22/02/22 4:53 pm

Manu Tuilagi is back in full training with England ahead of their Six Nations Test vs Wales

Manu Tuilagi is back in full training with England ahead of their Six Nations Test vs Wales

Manu Tuilagi and Courtney Lawes have both trained fully and are in the selection mix for England’s Six Nations clash vs Wales on Saturday, attack coach Martin Gleeson has confirmed.

Speaking to media on Tuesday, Gleeson said center Tuilagi and lock / flanker Lawes – both key performers for Eddie Jones side – have recovered from hamstring and concussions concerns respectively to return to full training.

England face Wales at Twickenham in Round 3 of the Six Nations on Saturday in a must-win clash, with both nations having lost one and won one in the championship this year so far.

“We’re all good. Everyone’s trained today, we had a big session and everyone’s pulled through fine. So we’re in a good spot,” Gleeson said.

England attack coach Martin Gleeson was speaking to media on Tuesday

England attack coach Martin Gleeson was speaking to media on Tuesday

“Manu adds a lot. His physical presence, his footwork, his leg speed, and just the things he can do, not many other people can, so it gives you another dimension to potentially play off.

“It’s great having him back in the mix for selection.

“He’s [Lawes] been brilliant. He started back training a little while ago and he’s been ramping it up slowly and he was back out there today doing what he does, leading by example which was great to see. “

Courtney Lawes is also fit and available, having not played in the 2022 Six Nations before now due to concussion

Courtney Lawes is also fit and available, having not played in the 2022 Six Nations before now due to concussion

Tuilagi has not played since suffering a hamstring injury scoring a try vs South Africa in November, and in his and skipper Owen Farrell’s absence, England’s center pairings have been Henry Slade and Elliot Daly in the defeat against Scotland, and Slade with Joe Marchant in the victory over Italy.

Slade and Tuilagi have partnered each other to great effect previously, in particular against Ireland and France in 2019, and against Australia in the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup.

Gleeson says the prospect of the pair lining up together against Wales in midfield is an exciting one, while adding the squad and coaches are treating Saturday’s Test like a World Cup quarter-final.

“It just gives us that little bit of flexibility as to what we can do,” Gleeson said.

“Sladey and Manu played really well in the autumn together, and have done previously, and if both are selected this week, I’m sure they will continue to do so.

Tuilagi is a key figure for Eddie Jones' England in midfield

Tuilagi is a key figure for Eddie Jones’ England in midfield

“It’s a massive game for us. First game back at Twickenham in the Six Nations this year, and first time crowds have been back for a Six Nations game for a couple of years.

“We’re treating it like a quarter-final this week.”

Gleeson confirmed wing Jack Nowell (concussion) and back-row Sam Simmonds (hip) also trained fully too.

Dombrandt discusses Smith’s relationship and facing Faletau

England No 8 Alex Dombrandt believes his attacking mindset and on-field understanding with fly-half Marcus Smith could lift the side in the crucial Six Nations Championship clash with Wales at Twickenham on Saturday.

Dombrandt was a stand-out performer in the 33-0 win over Italy 10 days ago and his link-up play with Harlequins team- mate Smith provided plenty of attacking impetus for coach Eddie Jones’ side.

It is not clear if he will retain his place for the must-win meeting with Wales, who Dombrandt represented at U20 level, but he is working hard on his “all-court” game.

“My work off the ball is just as important as my work on it, but the more times I can get my hands on it the better to impose myself on the game,” he said on Tuesday.

Alex Dombrandt also spoke to media on Tuesday ahead of the Wales Test this weekend

Alex Dombrandt also spoke to media on Tuesday ahead of the Wales Test this weekend

“I try to put myself in positions where I can get the ball. I put myself forward and then try to find those little pockets off Marcus.

“We are great friends off the pitch and that translates into what we do on it. We understand each others games well.

“I’m an attack-minded player, but at this level you need an all-court game. Your defense needs to be up there. I have been working hard on that aspect of my game.”

Team-mates at club level with Harlequins, Dombrant and Marcus Smith have a positive relationship on the pitch

Team-mates at club level with Harlequins, Dombrant and Marcus Smith have a positive relationship on the pitch

Dombrandt puts his all-action style as a loose-forward down to his younger years, when he played in the backline.

“When I was 12 or 13 I played a bit of full-back and fly-half, I think that helped a bit with my ball-handling skills,” he said.

He could come up against the vastly experienced back rower Taulupe Faletau, who has been recalled to the Wales squad after a seven-month injury layoff.

“If selected it will be a great test to be go against him for sure,” Dombrandt said. “He is very good in defense and in attack. I have watched him play and picked up a few things from him.”

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