Tuilagi could still feature

Date published: October 22 2014

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England head coach Stuart Lancaster says the door is not yet closed on centre Manu Tuilagi playing for his country in the November Tests.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has revealed the door isn’t closed on centre Manu Tuilagi playing for his country during the November Tests.

The 23-year-old, who suffered a groin injury while playing for Leicester against Ulster last weekend, was omitted from England’s 33-man squad that coach Lancaster announced on Wednesday.

Brad Barritt, Kyle Eastmond, Billy Twlevetrees, Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph were the centres named, but Tuilagi isn’t out of the picture.

“The reason we brought Jonathan Joseph into the camp is that Manu won’t be fit for the start of the series, but we have not shut the door,” England head coach Lancaster told SkySports.com.

“It could take six weeks but we’ll never say never. It’s a management programme between us and Leicester and between us we have to get it right.

“The most important person in all of this is Manu and we have to make sure we get his rehabilitation right and get him some game time.

“There’s no definitive timeline. It’s not that sort of injury.”

Lancaster added that the midfield quintet he has selected for the November internationals are in excellent form and that he has been pleased with what he has seen in 2014/15.

“I wouldn’t say the centres are an area of concern,” he said.

“Brad Barritt and Kyle Eastmond have both been outstanding and you have Luther Burrell and Billy Twelvetrees there as well. There’s plenty of competition.

“Then there is Jonathan Joseph who is perhaps the form centre of all of them. It’s about balance – you want a balance of pace, power and footballing ability.

“We will see them head to head (in training) and we will make our decisions on the combinations.”

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