MX23RW : Saturday, November 17 11:33:07

Tuilagi included in England's 25-man squad for New Zealand clash

Tuilagi included in England's 25-man squad for New Zealand clash
© Offside
The 27-year-old has recovered from a minor groin strain.

Manu Tuilagi is poised to make his England comeback on Saturday after being included in a 25-man squad to step-up preparations for New Zealand's visit to Twickenham.

Tuilagi was due to make his first international appearance in two years in the 12-11 victory over South Africa that opened the Quilter Internationals only to withdraw from the bench because of a minor groin strain.

But the Leicester centre has trained fully this week and is expected to be re-selected as a replacement when Eddie Jones names his team on Thursday.

England Training Session – Pennyhill Park
England's Manu Tuilagi could make his comeback after overcoming a niggling injury (Adam Davy/PA)

Tom Curry has been ruled out of the remainder of the autumn series by the ankle injury sustained against South Africa, so his place among the 25 in contention for the All Blacks goes to Sam Underhill.

Curry limped off in the second-half at Twickenham and after having the joint scanned, it was confirmed he is facing an extended spell on the sidelines.

"Tom is not available against New Zealand and has been ruled out of the rest of the series as well," forwards coach Steve Borthwick said.

In only five appearances Curry has become an automatic pick at openside, the 20-year-old impressing during the summer tour to South Africa and in Saturday's win until injury struck.

England Training and Press Conference – Twickenham Stadium
England's Tom Curry, centre, has been ruled out for the rest of the autumn series (Adam Davy/PA Wire)

"Tom injured his ankle and we don't how long he'll be out for, but he won't be back for our next three Tests," Borthwick said.

"He's a fantastic young player and we saw that in the game time he had against South Africa at the weekend.

"He's got a fantastic future ahead of him. I know that with his attitude he'll come back in even better shape than he is now."

England have otherwise been given a clean bill of health ahead of Saturday's visit of New Zealand to Twickenham – the first time the rivals have met in four years.

England Rugby Training Session – Latymer Upper School
Courtney Lawes is available for selection (Steven Paston/PA)

Courtney Lawes is available having overcome a back problem that forced him to miss the same match so he takes Elliott Stooke's place among the 25 who will remain at the squad's Surrey training base.

With Curry unavailable, England are likely to turn to another rookie flanker against New Zealand in the form of Bath's Underhill.

"Sam is an excellent player, a really tough defender who hits hard," Borthwick said.

"He's in great physical shape and unfortunately had an injury last year that ruled him out when he was going well, but he's an excellent player."


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