Manu Tuilagi faces a battle to be fit for the start of the Six Nations according to Leicester boss Richard Cockerill.
The Tigers centre hasn’t featured since October because of a groin injury and is now struggling to be ready for the tournament opener on February 6 against Wales in Cardiff.
Cockerill expects Tuilagi to be back in action for the Tigers by the end of January, however he might not have time to prove his form and fitness to Stuart Lancaster before the clash with the Welsh.
“It may well come too soon, we’ll see,” Cockerill said after Leicester’s win against Bath on Sunday.
“It’s a day-by-day, week-by-week thing. Manu is so important to club and country.
“By the end of this month, Manu will be playing. He is progressing really well and we want to get him right. He will be fit for the Six Nations at some point.
“The World Cup is huge and you don’t need your best players breaking down, Stuart Lancaster needs a fully-fit squad going into the World Cup, you don’t want to be risking guys. We’ll be patient.”