Manu Tuilagi must continue to be left out of the England squad if he is to return to top form. Earlier today Eddie Jones announced his training squad for England's training camp in Brighton, omitting the Leicester Tigers' centre.
England head coach Eddie Jones should be commended for leaving out Manu Tuilagi from his Brighton training squad earlier today. Tuilagi's absence is the best possible move Jones could have made for the Samoan born's international future. If Jones wants him in, he needs to leave him out.
In my humble opinion, Manu Tuilagi is the most devastating centre in the world when on form and should be handled with great care. Jones should continue excluding the centre throughout next year's 2018 Six Nations campaign for his own good. Now to get a little anatomical, the body's tissues take time to adapt to new workloads, adjusting to the stresses they endure. Tissues can literally change the way they are formed to survive regular stresses. Whether it's bones, ligaments, tendons or muscles, in true Darwin-esque style the same rule applies, adapt to survive.
Tuilagi has missed so much rugby over the last four years that his body will have deconditioned somewhat. As far as training on the field and in the gym can take a player, the demands placed on the body of playing week in week out just can't be fully replicated. Manu must let his body readapt to the rigours of the game and then work on returning to his former barnstorming self.
It is well publicised that England's midfield is lacking in size; pundits, fans and even Jones himself have all commented on the lightweight nature of the backline. The England head coach has been desperate for a Tuilagi shaped centre since the start of his England tenure and has thus far utilised former rugby league star Ben Te'o in this role.
The reason Te'o's selection stands out to me is that Jones has done his utmost not to select older players, favouring the younger options on every other occasion in his aim to prepare the next generation of test players. Te'o was 29 when first capped under Jones, proving a rare exception to this unofficial rule.
So we know how keen Jones is to include the Tigers man, but must resist the temptation to select a fit Tuilagi until June next year for the Summer tour to South Africa. If the 27-times-capped centre is brought back before then, we will likely see history repeat itself.