Manu Tuilagi remains on course to return for Sale this month and director of rugby Alex Sanderson has backed him for a Lions call-up.
The powerhouse is not a player who needs a long time to get himself back into form; he tends to hit the ground running after a long layoff.
It is no coincidence that England lifted themselves out of a poor run of form towards the end of 2018 when Tuilagi returned to the fold.
It was reported by The Times last week that in the unlikely scenario Tuilagi isn’t named in the 36-man squad, the centre will be on Warren Gatland’s ‘standby list’.
“Yeah I would (take him) if I was picking it,” said Sanderson.
“Manu understands more than most how to come back from an injury because he has had more than most.
- Rugby Players Released as Youngsters Who Still Had Successful Careers
- Ellis Genge reveals he probably WON’T be touring with the Lions
- Nigel Owens ranks top 8 captains he refereed
- Looking back at the Lions XV Warren Gatland picked back in 2019
- The 5 Greatest Rugby Players Of All-Time Have Been Ranked Based On Stats
“And I think he wants to come back and be brilliant again. If I could back anyone to come back and be at their best, I’d back him.”
“All being well and hitting all his markers, some time around the European Cup final.
“It is a shame we are not playing in it because he could be making his (second) debut in that. Some time around that, so two to three weeks.
“What we are guarding against isn’t his Achilles, his Achilles is fine. It’s making sure he doesn’t reinjure himself through a soft tissue.”
5 potential Lions bolters who received a letter from Warren Gatland
Here are five players who are thought to be among the players who received a letter from Gatland.
#5. Danny Care
- Position: Scrum-half
- Age: 34
Care is thought to be in the mix for Gatland’s final squad. The 34-year-old has not featured for England since the 2018 autumn Test win against Japan but his club form has put him in contention for a first Lions tour. That Ben Youngs has ruled himself out of contention only aids Care’s cause in a position considered to be among the most open.
Did you know? Care is the only England rugby player to win medals at the Commonwealth Youth Games and the senior Commonwealth Games.