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Tuilagi back in England frame

England head coach Stuart Lancaster expects Manu Tuilagi to be fit for the climax of the Six Nations campaign.

The 22-year-old Leicester centre has not played since September due to a pectoral muscle injury and underwent surgery in November.

But Lancaster is hopeful that he will be available for selection to add to his 21 England caps.

Lancaster told Sky Sports: "It is very much in Leicester's court and rightly so, they have done a great job in re-habbing him.

"We are hopeful he will be playing again at the start of March and if that is the case we will see how he goes."

England face Wales on March 9 and Italy on March 15 so Tuilagi could feature in those games, although he may struggle to displace current centres Luther Burrell and Billy Twelvetrees, a combination which has impressed in England's first two Six Nations games.

Lancaster added: "He has been out a long time and it is going to take him a while to get up to game-speed.

"But equally he is a special player as well. We will see how he goes when he gets back but it is very much in Leicester's hands at the moment and we will wait and see how he goes and make our decisions from there.

"But we are very happy with the way we are developing Billy and Luther at the moment as well."

Hooker Tom Youngs was criticised for England's misfiring lineout in the latter stages of last week's 20-0 win over Scotland, but Lancaster was keen to exonerate the Leicester front rower of blame.

He said: "As a forward pack we talked about it yesterday and we felt we let Tom down a bit really.

"Certainly the first two lineouts were definitely not Tom's fault and I think all the boys felt for him a bit.

"As hookers do, he got the criticism but actually it was other areas that caused the problem. He is a British Lion, he is a quality player and a quality person and we stick by him, definitely."