England head coach Eddie Jones has a new nickname for Manu Tuilagi – “the pinball machine” – following his all-action performance against Wales on Sunday.
“I’m excited to see where the players can take this team. Eddie started calling me ‘pinball machine’ because of my break against Wales at Twickenham and I also have the nickname ‘Chief’!
“Looking back now when I had all of the injuries, all I was thinking about was playing for England again. That is what pulled me through – it was the light at the end of the tunnel.
“The 2011 Cup does seem a very long time ago in terms of rugby because I have been out a lot with injuries and I’m just thankful I am still playing. There were a lot of dark days between the last World Cup and this one. For me to just go out and train and do what I love is the main thing.
“I was watching the 2015 tournament at home and I felt for the boys. That is now long gone and the boys have moved on and the focus is all about taking the learning experience and bring it to this World Cup and we will be much better for it.
“It makes me smile just to be on the team bus pulling up at Twickenham because in the past I took it for granted about being on the pitch and training which is why I now always play with a smile on my face.
“For me, it is a massive honour to represent England at the highest competition in the world. I’m excited and want to make the most of it.”