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Manu Tuilagi rested for Japan clash to preserve fitness

Manu Tuilagi rested for Japan clash to preserve fitness

Tuilagi 1920

Manu Tuilagi has been rested for England’s Autumn Nations Series match against Japan with Eddie Jones stressing the need to keep the 31-year-old fit.

Tuilagi started in the loss to Argentina at Twickenham last Sunday, though was one of five players dropped by Jones ahead of Saturday’s clash against the Brave Blossoms, with Guy Porter his replacement.

The Sale Sharks centre recently missed a year of international action due to persistent muscle strains but remains a key player for Jones.

And the head coach admitted the move was a tactical one to keep Tuilagi fresh ahead of matches against New Zealand and South Africa.

“It’s all about workload. We’ve given him a lighter week of training. He’ll still be able to finish for us,” he said.

“We just feel that with Manu’s injury record, to play four big games in a row is probably not in his best interests at the moment.

“Whenever you’ve got a powerful player with soft tissue injuries, you’ve got to experiment a little bit. It’s about what’s the right training load, what’s the right kind of training, what’s the right rehabilitation, what’s the right recovery?

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“You can’t go to a textbook and look up: ‘Chapter one – difficult players to manage’. There’s just no textbook for it, so it’s a matter of experimentation.

“It’s a matter of cohesion between the staff here and at Sale, the medical staff and strength and conditioning staff, and I think that’s being done really well.

“We’ve got him in a good position now, he played 60-odd minutes against Japan, he trained with us yesterday (Wednesday) and did most of the training. He’s in a really good spot, he looks lean, he looks healthy and we’ll get a good result from him off the bench.”

As well as Porter replacing Tuilagi, Jones has also brought Jonny May, Sam Simmonds, Jack van Poortvliet and the uncapped David Ribbans into his starting XV on Saturday.

Jones will hope that his side can respond to last week’s loss against to Argentina against an opponent he is hugely familiar with, having coached Japan at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

He added: “Japan are a good team. They have the luxury of having long preparations and I’ve been the benefactor of that.

“I think the most cohesive teams in the world in the way they play are Ireland and Japan. They’ve almost got a sixth sense between their players because they practice so much together.”


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