‘Six Nations start unrealistic for Tuilagi’

Date published: January 9 2016

Richard Cockerill has said that Leicester will take their time getting Manu Tuilagi back to full fitness after his return.

Tuilagi played his first game in close to 15 months for the Tigers against Northampton after battling with a groin injury.

A late addition to the Leicester bench, Tuilagi was introduced in the second half and made his presence felt in a narrow win.

Leicester will be taking their time however to make sure that Tuilagi has no further setbacks in his recovery.

"I am not sure how far off full fitness he is in 80-minute terms," Cockerill said.

"He played 25 or so minutes today, and he is remembering how to play rugby again. Hopefully, there will be no reaction to that.

"He will play next week, and we will build his fitness up gradually. At this point, I am not sure he is ready to play Test match rugby.

"He has played 25 minutes in 15 months, and it is a bit premature to be discussing Manu playing for England.

"He needs to play for Leicester, we need to get him fit and make sure he is 100 percent right before he starts playing Test matches.

"I will speak to Eddie in the next few days. Manu will keep improving, but the start of the Six Nations is unrealistic because we need to make sure he is 100 percent right."