- England host Wales at Twickenham on Saturday
- Manu Tuilagi retained in 24-man squad
England flanker James Haskell has described centre Manu Tuilagi as a “special player” and has welcomed his inclusion in the 24-man squad for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations clash against Wales.
Tuilagi, 24, has not played for England since 21 June 2014 with injuries also ruling him out of rugby for 15 months.
However, the Leicester Tigers star is approaching full fitness and has been named in Eddie Jones’ squad for the game at Twickenham.
“Manu is a pretty special player, I don’t often look at people and say I wish I had some of his genes,” admitted Haskell.
“He has pace, power and strength and I think he will have an impact. He always does.”
HE IS DEVASTATING
Tuilagi returned from a groin problem this season only to suffer a setback and sustain a hamstring injury.
However, he played for the Tigers on Sunday and Haskell has been impressed by his contribution for Leicester.
“He looked determined, he looked intense and ready to play,” said Haskell. “He is so devastating. I have seen him play and have played with him against the best teams in the world and he causes everybody trouble.
“Whenever Manu plays, even if he has a bad game someone is still getting taken down, or he is going to run through someone. Very few players have the ability to do that.”
A HUGE OCCASION
Tuilagi was absent for England’s World Cup campaign, with Haskell admitting he was “sorely missed” adding: “You’ve got to have faith that the coaches know their business because his assets are clear to see.”
England's clash with Wales on Saturday will likely decide the outcome of the 2016 RBS 6 Nations championship and Haskell is relishing the challenge awaiting them at the weekend.
Wales are unbeaten in the tournament with a draw and two wins, while England have won all three of their matches.
“Any time you pull on that white shirt and run out at Twickenham it is a huge occasion,” he said.
“Being an English player you are aware everyone wants to get one over on you. We have to play and worry about ourselves.”