Billy Vunipola among rested players as Manu Tuilagi joins England training squad

Sale centre Tuilagi is in a 36-man training squad for the Twickenham Tests and the second-string international against Scotland ‘A’.

Billy Vunipola and Manu Tuilagi
Billy Vunipola and Manu Tuilagi

Manu Tuilagi could make his England comeback next month but Billy Vunipola has joined the list of senior players rested for the summer series against the USA and Canada.

Tuilagi is three games into his return from the Achilles injury sustained in September and the Sale centre has been named in a 36-man training squad for the Twickenham Tests and the second-string international against Scotland ‘A’.

The 30-year-old’s most recent outing for England was against Wales in March 2020, with surgery forcing him to sit out the autumn and 2021 Six Nations campaigns during which his power was sorely missed.

He is the only established international retained for the visit of the USA and Canada after George Ford, Jonny May, Mark Wilson and now Vunipola were given the summer off.

Saracens signed off their Greene King IPA Championship season on Sunday by sealing their return to the Gallagher Premiership at the expense of Ealing, but no players from the north London cub feature in the 36.

Vunipola has struggled to find his best form since the World Cup and Eddie Jones will be hoping he is revitalised by being stood down for matches that are being used to develop the next generation of England players.

The squad has been strengthened by personnel from losing Premiership semi-finalists Sale and Bristol.

Billy Vunipola is being rested by England
Billy Vunipola is being rested by England (David Davies/PA)

Will Capon, Max Malins and Harry Randall have arrived from Bristol while Sale’s Ben Curry, Curtis Langdon, Bevan Rodd and Tuilagi have also been summoned.

Ben Curry is given his chance to step out of the shadow of twin brother Tom, who is among England’s 12-strong Lions contingent heading for South Africa.

Jones has also picked Northampton’s George Furbank and Ollie Sleightholme in a squad that contains 22 uncapped players.

“We had a really good training week last week. We’ve now added some new players and are looking forward to working with them,” said Jones.

Eddie Jones is looking for the next generation of England player
Eddie Jones is looking for the next generation of England player (PA)

“The players who aren’t with us now acquitted themselves really well in training and though they are disappointed to go home, we’ve made the point to them that if they keep working hard then there will be more opportunities for them.

“We will treat the week as a Test week, everyone will work hard and be ready for a competitive game on Sunday.”

Jones will update the squad for a final time after Sunday’s Scotland ‘A’ showdown in Leicester, calling in reinforcements from Premiership finalists Exeter and Harlequins.

England squad:

Forwards: J Blamire (Newcastle Falcons), W Capon (Bristol Bears), C Chick (Newcastle Falcons), B Curry (Sale Sharks), T Davison (Newcastle Falcons), C Ewels (Bath Rugby), E Genge (Leicester Tigers), J Heyes (Leicester Tigers), P Hill (Northampton Saints), T Hill (Worcester Warriors), C Langdon (Sale Sharks), L Ludlam (Northampton Saints), L Ludlow (Gloucester Rugby), J McNally (Bath Rugby), G Martin (Leicester Tigers), C Munga (London Irish), B Obano (Bath Rugby), M Reid (Bath Rugby), B Rodd (Sale Sharks), S Underhill (Bath Rugby), H Wells (Leicester Tigers).

Backs: J Bassett (Wasps), J Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), G Furbank (Northampton Saints), D Kelly (Leicester Tigers), O Lawrence (Worcester Warriors), M Malins (Bristol Bears), A Mitchell (Northampton Saints), M Ojomoh (Bath Rugby), A Radwan (Newcastle Falcons), H Randall (Bristol Bears), D Robson (Wasps), O Sleightholme (Northampton Saints), F Steward (Leicester Tigers), M Tuilagi (Sale Sharks), J Umaga (Wasps).

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