Henry Slade and Manu Tuilagi return to England squad ahead of Six Nations clash with Ireland
Injured centres return to continue their rehabilitation in the hope of being involved against unbeaten Ireland while Courtney Lawes has been rested
Henry Slade and Manu Tuilagi will return to the England squad this week as Eddie Jones prepares his side for their crunch Six Nations clash with unbeaten Ireland, but neither are yet confirmed to be in the mix for the Twickenham encounter.
Tuilagi returns after missing the victory over Scotland last weekend with a groin issue, having picked up the injury early in the opening-weekend defeat by France, while Slade will join up with the squad as he continues his recovery from a fractured ankle suffered in Exeter’s December victory over Leicester Tigers.
Both players are named additionally to a 25-man squad as Jones wants them to continue their rehabilitation under his watchful eye in order to assess whether the two centres will be available against Ireland, which takes place on Sunday 23 February after this weekend’s rest period.
The pair started England’s last Six Nations clash with Ireland when they secured an impressive 32-20 victory in Dublin last year, with Slade scoring twice and Tuilagi making his first start in four and a half years.
As well as Slade and Tuilagi’s inclusion, Sale Sharks back Cameron Redpath will be drafted into the west London training camp to make up the numbers, while Northampton flanker Courtney Lawes has been rested.
Lawes aside, the entire matchday squad from the 13-6 Calcutta Cup victory last Saturday will return to camp, as well as Bath lock Charlie Ewels and Gloucester wing Ollie Thorley.
In an effort to beat Storm Ciara the England squad flew back home from Edinburgh on Saturday night, giving the players three full days off before they reconvened in London on Wednesday, with an open training session at Twickenham planned for Friday afternoon.
Speaking after the victory over Scotland, Jones confirmed that he will use the off-week to address England tactical approach ahead of the visit of Ireland, who return to Twickenham for the first time in the Six Nations since clinching their 2018 Grand Slam off the back of two consecutive wins and in the running with France for a clean sweep this year.
“We’re training in the city, we’re in Kensington. A light day on Wednesday, a little bit of tactical stuff on Thursday and we’ll have a good hit-out in an open session at Twickenham on Friday, said Jones.
Captain Owen Farrell added: “We’ll look to get better, we’ll look to improve as we did this week. There’ll still be a lot that we can do better so I look forward to doing that.”
England training squad
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Ben Earl (Saracens), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), 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 Rugby), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Mako Vunipola (Saracens).
Elliot Daly (Saracens), Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), George Furbank (Northampton Saints), Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
Additional players: Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers).