Tuilagi only ’60-70 percent’

Date published: January 17 2016

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Richard Cockerill has again cooled talk of Manu Tuilagi making an England return after he made his first start in 15 months for Leicester.

Tuilagi started at inside centre in a seven-try rout of Treviso on Saturday at Welford Road.

Eddie Jones named Tuilagi in his first EPS squad and hinted that he could be in contention for selection by the time England face Wales in the fourth week of the Six Nations.

Cockerill for now is keen to keep Tuilagi working hard behind the scenes with Leicester rather than to rush his recovery.

Cockerill told PA Sport: "He will stay with us and won't be going to England camp, and he won't play in the first three games. In that second fallow week we will have a discussion.

"If he is going well and playing well enough and his body can cope he may be involved with England for the last two games if selected.

"If he is not right he won't be going. We will make sure that this injury doesn't come back. You don't want him in a Test scenario if he is not right.

"He is only 60-70 percent sharpness-wise at the moment. He played 50 minutes tonight and he needs to get sharper and fitter.

"There were some glimpses of the old Manu out there and as he gets fitter and sharper he will get better.

"Manu's best weight is about 110, 111 kilos, and he is a couple of kilos over that. It will take him six to eight games to get back to his best."

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