British & Irish Lions 2021

Manu Tuilagi ruled out of England's Six Nations clash with Scotland

2020-02-04 16:12
Manu Tuilagi
Manu Tuilagi (Getty Images)

London - Manu Tuilagi will miss England's Six Nations clash with Scotland because of a groin strain but is expected to be fit to face Ireland later this month, head coach Eddie Jones said on Tuesday.

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The Leicester centre, who has been bedevilled by injury problems during his career, limped off just 16 minutes into Sunday's 24-17 loss to France.

But while Jones confirmed that the centre will miss Saturday's clash at Murrayfield, the coach is optimistic the 28-year-old will return for the rest of the tournament.

"Manu had his MRI scan last night and he has a slight, low-grade adductor strain. We're hopeful he'll be fit for Ireland (on February 23). It's very good news, outstanding news," Jones said.

Tuilagi's absence robs England of their most powerful player behind the scrum and his exit against the French resulted in a lack of firepower, with Billy and Mako Vunipola already missing.

Jonathan Joseph came on as his replacement at the Stade de France and is competing with Ollie Devoto to deputise at outside centre.

England boss Jones branded Scotland "niggly" ahead of the Calcutta Cup showdown, undeterred by how his threat of "brutal physicality" against the French backfired.

"Scotland are a niggly side. Our historical record against Scotland is interesting -- over 80 per cent wins in England but only 50 per cent at Murrayfield," he said.

"It's about having good focus, good attention to the moment, good clarity about your game-plan, being well prepared. And we'll start with that today (Tuesday)."

Two years ago England were thumped 25-13 at Edinburgh in a defeat that exposed glaring breakdown deficiencies and launched a five-Test losing run that placed Jones' future in doubt.

When the teams walked through the tunnel to the changing rooms after their warm-up, a brawl erupted that was provoked by Scotland number eight Ryan Wilson targeting George Ford, prompting Owen Farrell to defend his team-mate.

Asked for an example of "niggly" conduct, Jones replied: "The dressing-room scene two years ago when they tried to goad a couple of our players. And they were successful.

"Historically they've done that through the ages. That's the way they stay in the game and they're good at it.

"The Murrayfield environment helps them but you've got to be good enough to stay focused, be on task, do what you need to do."

Anthony Watson was a late withdrawal from the team for the Six Nations opener because of a calf issue but he was due to resume full training on Tuesday.

Read more on:    england  |  six nations  |  manu tuilagi  |  rugby


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