Cape Town - England co-captain Owen Farrell is excited by the return of Manu Tuilagi to the England squad and has labelled him ‘unique’ ahead of their November Tests.
According to the official England Rugby website, Tuilagi has played just five times for England in four years, the last of which came against Wales in 2016, and his inclusion in head coach Eddie Jones’ squad has Farrell upbeat.
“Him (Manu) running in a straight line is difficult to deal with but it’s not just that with Manu; he’s got subtleties to his game too which makes him even more difficult to stop,” explained Farrell of the 26-cap centre.
“He’s not just your predictable big bloke that you can tackle low and stop, he is a brilliant line runner, he has good feet, good feel and he’s unbelievably powerful - he showed that against the Scarlets.”
Recurring injuries have been the reason for Tuilagi’s international hiatus, but rugby fans across the country would have applauded his 13 carries, 89 metres and solitary try in Leicester Tigers’ Champions Cup win over the aforementioned Scarlets so close to the international window.
And Farrell, who has played alongside, and against the 27-year-old on many occasions, describes his demeanour around the current camp in Portugal as ‘calm’.
“He is pretty unique,” added Farrell.
“Everybody can see that, he’s a game breaker in terms of making something happen and that is exciting.”
“We learnt a lot in South Africa, it built up to a decent performance in the last Test which was whole compared to the others,” he said.
“We need to make sure we hit the ground running here so that we can get back onto that learning.
“It’s a lot different now; they’ve spent a lot of time together since then and we haven’t, but we are excited about having them over here and the challenge of that first game. We’re looking to do everything we can now to make sure we are prepared as we can be.”
England return to Test rugby at Twickenham in November after an eight month absence to face South Africa (November 3), New Zealand (November 10), Japan (November 17) and Australia (November 24), and after sustaining a 2-1 series loss to the Springboks in June, Farrell is looking forward to facing them again so soon.