England centre Manu Tuilagi says Saturday’s victory over Ireland stands out as the greatest of his international career.
Tuilagi and team mates sealed a 32-20 bonus-point win over Ireland in Dublin to open their 2019 Guinness Six Nations in the perfect way.
For Tuilagi it was a first start for England since the third Test against New Zealand in June 2014 after years of injury torment.
And he said the win in Dublin, topped England’s famous victory over New Zealand at Twickenham in 2012.
“It’s massive, it’s right up there,” said the Leicester Tiger.
“It’s the first game, Ireland are the best team in Europe and second in the world. It's probably tougher than that win against New Zealand because you don't have many teams that come to Ireland and win.”
Tuilagi made an early impact in the fixture, taking the ball off the back of a long line out before crashing into Ireland and helping England gain vital momentum.
“It was just the right play at that time and fair play to the forwards, we said we would keep Ireland down there right from the off,” he said.
“That got us the lineout and that was the right call at that moment. It came early, you don’t know when it’s going to come but I was glad to get into the game as quick as I did.”
And on his Six Nations return, he added: “It was nice to be out there, especially to start. It’s unfortunate for big Ben but it was nice to enjoy the atmosphere right from the off.
“It gives us a bit of momentum going into next week and we know France is going to be tough so we have to prepare for that.”