Berliner Tageblatt - England treading carefully with Tuilagi ahead of World Cup

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England treading carefully with Tuilagi ahead of World Cup
England treading carefully with Tuilagi ahead of World Cup / Photo: © AFP/File

England treading carefully with Tuilagi ahead of World Cup

England are determined to manage the workload of Manu Tuilagi through a congested Autumn Nations programme said coach Eddie Jones on Thursday as he explained his decision to leave the powerhouse midfielder on the bench for the home match against Japan.

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Tuilagi has been replaced at outside centre on Saturday by novice international Guy Porter as England try to return to winning ways after opening their November programme with a 30-29 loss to Argentina at Twickenham last weekend.

But with Tuilagi's career blighted by injuries, Jones is determined to limit his match time ahead of encounters later this month against New Zealand and world champions South Africa.

Before the Argentina match, Tuilagi had missed a year of Test rugby with hamstring and knee problems, the latest in a long list that have marred his career.

Jones is also determined to have Tuilagi fit for next year's World Cup in France, where Japan will be one of England's pool opponents along with Argentina.

"It's all about workload," said Jones, after naming his team to play Japan.

"We just feel that with Manu's injury record, to play four big games in a row is probably not in his best interests at the moment.

"Whenever you've got a powerful player with soft tissue injuries, you've got to experiment a little bit."

The veteran Australian coach added: "You can't go to a textbook and look up: 'Chapter one -- difficult players to manage'. There's just no textbook for it, so it's a matter of experimentation.

"It's a matter of cohesion between the staff here and at Sale, the medical staff and strength and conditioning staff, and I think that's being done really well.

"We've got him in a good position now, he played 60-odd minutes against Japan, he trained with us yesterday (Wednesday) and did most of the training."

Jones was Japan's coach when they stunned South Africa at the 2015 World Cup and was appointed to his current post shortly after hosts England were knocked out of that tournament.

"Japan are a good team," he said. "They have the luxury of having long preparations and I've been the benefactor of that.

"I think the most cohesive teams in the world in the way they play are Ireland and Japan. They've almost got a sixth sense between their players because they practise so much together."