Six Nations: Manu Tuilagi ‘deserves’ England shot dead in Ireland duel, George Ford ready for return
Tuilagi is available again from the suspension and offers a direct replacement for the injured Ollie Lawrence.
Sales powerhouse Tuilagi have slipped down England’s pecking order on the good form of Bath star Lawrence but now appear poised to reassert their Red Rose authority.
England could still rely on their favorite 2019 World Cup midfield of George Ford, Owen Farrell and Tuilagi for the clash at the Aviva Stadium, where hosts Ireland will pursue a second Grand Slam in five years.
The sale-fly-half Ford was released last week and did not feature in Saturday’s 53-10 smash against France as England want the 29-year-old to look for match sharpness with the Sharks.
Ford has only just recovered to full fitness after a long-running Achilles injury but is now back at top speed, which Sinfield confirms: “He’s fit, fit and good, and fit to go.”
England kept Tuilagi in camp despite his suspension last week and that move could pay off should the Samoan-born center break into starting XI this weekend.
“Manu was great at camp, we’re disappointed to lose Ollie because he played really well for us, but Manu was outstanding and deserves a chance this week,” Sinfield said.
“He brings some physicality to us and we needed a little bit more of that last weekend but we didn’t get it. Hopefully he’ll deliver some of that over the weekend. With him in the camp, his influence was great.
“I don’t think there are a lot of teams around the world that have that quality of player as the next taxi from the rank and he’s welcomed back and hopefully he can go and do a great job for us.”
England will feel the effects of Saturday’s record home defeat for some time to come. The challenge doesn’t get any easier on Saturday as Ireland top France as the top-ranked team in the world. Sinfield admitted that the reaction to the caning in France resembled a kind of mourning.
“Losses like that leave a big mark and you don’t forget that because they bring pain,” Sinfield said. “Dealing with it is really important, people deal with it very differently. It’s almost a form of grief, but we worked through it.
“We’ve had two good sessions, a better session today and we’re looking forward to a tremendous game against the best team in the world. If you wanted a test and a challenge to find out what character we have, we will find out.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/rugby/six-nations-england-ireland-tuilagi-ford-b1067346.html Six Nations: Manu Tuilagi ‘deserves’ England shot dead in Ireland duel, George Ford ready for return