England hopeful over Tuilagi and Lawes for All Blacks clash

ENGLAND HEAD COACH Eddie Jones is “cautiously optimistic” Manu Tuilagi and Courtney Lawes will be fit to face New Zealand on Saturday but Tom Curry looks set to miss out at Twickenham.

Tuilagi was ruled out of Saturday’s victory over South Africa due to a groin strain after initially being named among the replacements.

The injury-prone centre, who has not featured at international level since March 2016, could feature against the world champions this weekend after returning to training.

Lock Lawes may also come up against the All Blacks, having been ruled out of the Springboks clash with a back injury.

Jones said: “Manu is back and progressing well – we’re cautiously optimistic he’ll be available this week, the same with Courtney Lawes.”

On Tuilagi’s condition, Jones added: “He did some running yesterday, so he’s coming along nicely. We expect to him be in full training by Tuesday, so that gives him the opportunity to become available for selection.

“We won’t risk him, he’s either 100 per cent fit or he’s not. If he’s 100 per cent, we will look at him for selection; if not we’ll give him some more time.”

Jones is not expecting to be able to call on back-row Curry, who limped off early in the second half last weekend with an ankle injury.

“He’s highly unlikely [to be fit]. He’s going for an examination now and the news probably isn’t going to be too good, so there’s an opportunity for someone else to play seven.” said the Australian.

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