Haskell delight as Tuilagi returns for England's cruncher with Wales
The Leicester Tigers star is primed to be unleashed off the bench for his 26th cap in the potential Six Nations decider at Twickenham on Saturday.
After missing the World Cup through injury, as well as being banned after assaulting two female police officers, the 24-year-old could play a huge part in the Red Rose’s Grand Slam hopes after it looked like his career was over.
A groin injury and a day in court, which landed him with a £6,000 fine, could have spelled the end for the bulldozing British and Irish Lions back last year.
Samoan-born Tuilagi was also fined £3,000 for jumping off a ferry and swimming through Auckland harbour at the 2011 World Cup.
But England team-mate James Haskell said: “Manu is a pretty special player.
“I don’t often look at people and wish I had some of their genes. He’s just pace, power and strength personified. I think he will have an impact, he always does.
“Dan Cole was watching Leicester on the computer when we were doing our analysis for this weekend.
“I looked over and he looked determined, looked intense, like he was really ready to play.
“He is so devastating. I have seen him play and played with him against some of the best teams in the world — and he causes everybody trouble.
“Whatever he does, he is someone who is a threat and is someone who is a very special player.
“I think if he performs well, and he is able to play in whatever position the coaches think he will do well, he is deadly.”
England boss Eddie Jones has said he sees Tuilagi, known as the wrecking ball, as an inside centre.
So if Tuilagi can produce the goods in a cameo against Jamie Roberts and Co, then he will be in pole position to start England’s final game against France.
Wasps flanker Haskell added: “Wherever Manu plays, even if he has a bad day, someone will still get taken down.
“He is still going to run through someone, or he is still going to do something — very few players have the ability to do that.
“He was obviously sorely missed at the World Cup.
“Whenever he is not involved in the game, he is missed. He was obviously missed for Leicester.
“But Owen Farrell has been fantastic for us and has a really good combination with George Ford. Jonathan Joseph is devastating and Elliot Daly obviously only got a little bit of time but we have talked about him.
“You have got to have faith that the coaches know what their business is because Manu’s assets are there and clear for everyone to see.”
Jones is tipped to stick with the team that beat Ireland but Joe Launchbury is set for the bench, as well as Kieran Brookes.
ENGLAND (likely): Brown, Watson, Joseph, Farrell, Nowell, Ford, Youngs, B Vunipola, Haskell, Robshaw, Kruis, Itoje, Cole, Hartley (c), Marler.
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