TUILAGI’S GOT TO MANU UP!
Catt warns centre he must work harder to regain place RUGBY UNION – SIX NATIONS
MANU TUILAGI has been told he needs to raise the bar in training if he is to force his way back into the England team for Sunday’s key clash with Ireland.
Tuilagi has recovered from the ankle injury which kept him out of England’s 38-18 win against Scotland and he is now competing with Brad Barritt and Billy Twelvetrees for a start in Dublin.
“It is always difficult but it is a great headache to have,” said England skills coach Mike Catt. “From a team point of view you have three guys and each of them bring special attributes.
“It is great that Billy has come along and performed the way he did against Scotland on his debut.
“Manu has been out of the game for three or four weeks. We will see how they all train and we will go accordingly from there.
“If the guys have performed exceptionally well on the weekend, the guys coming in need to make sure they have the tempo and up the intensity to really put their hands forward.”
Barritt runs the England defence, even from the less familiar outside centre role he occupied in Tuilagi’s absence last weekend.
And Catt outlined how important that would be against an Ireland side containing both Jonathan Sexton and Brian O’Driscoll.
“It would be very hard taking him out of the equation,” Catt added.
“O’Driscoll is playing exceptionally well at the moment. I thought that first half Ireland produced against Wales was exceptional. We know they are capable of doing that.
“Defence is across the board. Everybody knows their roles.
“We need to focus on our attacking game too, which went pretty well against the Scots, and try to starve them of the ball so they can’t do what they are good at.”
England have not yet ruled out Ben Morgan from their Dublin plans after the Gloucester No.8 sprained his ankle against Scotland.
But Morgan’s chances look bleak and James Haskell is set to start in his absence, with Tom Wood shifting across the back row from blindside flanker to No.8.
MAN IN POSSESSION: Tuilagi wants his shirt back off Twelvetrees who impressed against Scotland
DECISIONS: Mike Catt