England centre Slade out of Six Nations, Tuilagi to return
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | December 9, 2015
Exeter Chiefs centre Henry Slade will miss England’s Six Nations campaign because of a broken leg and ankle damage, but Leicester Tigers counterpart Manu Tuilagi is set to return to club action ahead of the European international tournament, which begins on February 6th 2016.
New Red Rose head coach Eddie Jones has pledged to build a young side capable of challenging at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, after England flopped as tournament hosts under predecessor Stuart Lancaster.
Slade to miss at least four months
Slade, 22, scored a try on the occasion of his second cap, as England smashed Uruguay 60-3 in a dead rubber that completed Pool A, and was competing with Jonathan Joseph with a spot in the XV.
Chiefs coach Rob Baxter would not be drawn on a return date for Slade. “We are certainly not pencilling in any date for Henry’s return because we know it is long-term,” he said.
“We will start talking about a return date in eight to 10 weeks’ time when we know a bit more – it will take a bit of time though and a lengthy rehab process.”
Joining Slade in missing the Six Nations is loosehead prop Alex Corbisiero, as the Northampton Saints man needs knee surgery.
Tuilagi to return in January
Controversial Tuilagi, meanwhile, has missed the last 14 months with a groin problem and made national news off the field for assaulting two female police officers and a taxi driver. That resulted in a suspension for the 24-year-old, who is set to return to action in January.
Despite his bad press throughout 2015, 25-capped Tuilagi has signed a new three-year deal with his club team, and Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill has had to justify this contract.
“He is worth the gamble,” Cockerill said of Tuilagi. “He’s been here a long time and has played a lot of rugby for us. Clearly he’s had some injury issues, but you have to support people through those situations. I’ve no doubt Manu will repay that faith by how he plays.”
England remain Coral’s 15/8 favourites to win the Six Nations, with the price on dual winners Ireland cut to 2/1 for a third successive triumph and Wales at 11/4, despite positive signs that skipper Sam Burgess will take part in the campaign.
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