‘He looked good’: England optimistic over Tuilagi fitness as squad bolstered | Six Nations 2024

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England have bolstered their options for the Six Nations game against ­Scotland on Saturday week by ­naming Manu Tuilagi, Luke Cowan‑Dickie and George Martin in a strengthened 36‑man training squad.

Tuilagi and Cowan-Dickie, both of Sale Sharks, and the Leicester second‑row Martin are set to be ­available for the Calcutta Cup fixture at ­Murrayfield, when England aim to make it three wins from three in the tournament this year.

The Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith and the Bath centre Ollie ­Lawrence also joined the group that gathered at Twickenham and they will continue to rehabilitate ­injuries in camp. Smith has a calf injury while Lawrence is recovering from a hip problem.

The England assistant coach Felix Jones was upbeat on the chances of Steve Borthwick having a fully fit squad from which to select his team to face Scotland. “We’re ­treating the guys who have come in with a day‑by‑day focus. We’ll know more as each day goes by, but ­everyone looked fine today,” Jones said. “Manu had a little bit of a run around today. It wasn’t anything too intense, but he looked good.”

Asked about Tuilagi’s lack of ­playing time – the centre has been out since before Christmas with a groin injury – Jones said: “Manu’s a guy who has experienced enough Test rugby. To my knowledge he’s done it a number of times when he’s come back from injury with low levels of game time but still been able to ­perform at a very high level. ­Experience counts for a lot.

“Ollie [Lawrence] was out there today and is one we’re monitoring day by day. We’ll see how he holds up. He looked all good.”

After victories against Italy and Wales, Borthwick will hope his ­reinforced squad can improve the team’s recent record against ­Scotland – Gregor Townsend’s side have won four of the ­past six ­Calcutta Cup matches, with a 38-38 draw in 2019.

The Exeter winger Immanuel Feyi‑Waboso has said he has taken advice from senior ­England ­players on how to block out negative com­ments on social media. The 21‑year‑old was born in Wales, but his decision to declare for ­England has caused controversy recently.

“Speaking to a lot of the boys here [in England camp], it’s surprising what they do to block out a lot of rugby noise. It’s good advice,” said Feyi-Waboso, who made his debut against Italy. “Right now, I delete ­Instagram throughout the week.

“There has been a bit of noise. I blocked out a lot of it so it wasn’t too bad. I have a lot of good people around me, like family. They helped my decision [to play for England].”

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Feyi-Waboso, who was ­playing for Taunton this time last year and is ­combining playing with ­medical studies at Exeter University, said his fast‑track path to ­international rugby has been “crazy”, adding: “I have an exam in a couple of weeks. I might have to go back for that. Then when the Six Nations is over, I think I have an exam three days after we come back from France. So I’ll be revising.”

The Harlequins wing Louis Lynagh, meanwhile, has been called into Italy’s Six Nations squad for the first time, before the match against France on Sunday week. Quins announced on Monday that Lynagh, the son of the former ­Australia captain Michael Lynagh, will join ­Benetton in the summer to “pursue his international aspirations”.

Italy’s head coach, Gonzalo ­Quesada, has wasted no time in ­selecting the wing who was called up to an ­England training squad by Eddie Jones in 2021. The Azzurri play France in Lille after defeats by ­England and Ireland.

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