England coach Eddie Jones says he “would like to think” centre Manu Tuilagi will be available for the Six Nations game against Wales on 12 March.

Tuilagi, who last played for England in 2014, has been sidelined for 15 months with groin and hamstring problems.

But he is set to return when Leicester face Harlequins on Friday, a match Jones said he would “probably” attend.

Tuilagi, 24, is not in contention for England’s next game, against Ireland on 27 February.


Leicester coach Richard Cockerill said on Wednesday he thought Tuilagi had “not played enough rugby at club level, never mind Test level”, but added: “If Eddie decides to pick him because he is playing well enough then so be it.”

Asked later if Tuilagi might be ready for the Wales game, Jones said: “We’d like to think that but I’ve seen the comments by Richard Cockerill so I’ll have to get on that Leicester hotline.”

Tuilagi has scored 11 tries in 25 England appearances but his career has been blighted by off-field disciplinary issues, including jumping into Auckland harbour.

He also pleaded guilty to assaulting two female police officers, but later said he had “owned up to what I’ve not done”.