MX23RW : Wednesday, October 17 03:58:58

Tuilagi to make debut while Stevens returns

Tuilagi to make debut while Stevens returns
© PA Photos
Manu Tuilagi will make his England debut against Wales on Saturday while Matt Stevens will return following a two-year drug ban.

Leicester Tigers' Manu Tuilagi will make his England debut against Wales in the World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham on Saturday.

Samoan-born Tuilagi, who will start Saturday's game at outside centre, said: "There is a lot of competition for places and I just want to take this chance and do the best I can for the team.

"The boys have worked hard during the camp but now we have to perform against Wales."

England manager Martin Johnson said of the 20-year-old: "He played some very good rugby last year in a tough Premiership and in Europe, so we are looking forward to seeing him play."

Prop Matt Stevens is also making a return to the squad for the first time since 2008 after serving a two-year ban for testing positive for cocaine in January 2009.

"Matt [Stevens] is a very smart player, obviously he can do the work in the tight phases but he is a very smart rugby player as well. Having those [attributes] on the field in those positions is very important so it is a good opportunity for him," Johnson added.

Johnson must finalise his 30-man squad for autumn's World Cup in New Zealand by August 22.

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