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Six Nations 2020: England’s Manu Tuilagi to miss Scotland game

Tuilagi scored three tries during England’s Rugby World Cup campaign last year after a four-year spell between 2014 and 2018 in which injury restricted him to just one Test appearance
Six Nations Championship: Scotland v England
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 8 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Watch on BBC One; listen BBC Radio 5live & BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app

Manu Tuilagi will miss England’s Six Nations match with Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday with a groin strain.

The Leicester centre left the field early in the 24-17 defeat by France last weekend.

But coach Eddie Jones says he should be fit to face Ireland on 23 February.

“Manu can do things other players can’t do so we need to be cleverer about how we get that punch in centre field,” Jones said of Tuilagi’s absence.

“But hopefully he will be fit for Ireland, which is very good news – outstanding news.”

Tuilagi had been limited to one match in the six weeks prior to the Six Nations by a separate groin complaint.

Six Nations: France 24-17 England – highlights

Bath’s Jonathan Joseph replaced him from the bench in Paris, with Ollie Devoto and Fraser Dingwall the other midfield options in the squad.

Ben Te’o, who provided back-up to Tuilagi as a physical midfield runner in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup, has not played for England since being dropped in the wake of an altercation with team-mate Mike Brown on a team bonding trip in August.

And the 33-year-old is now unavailable, having moved to Japan to play for Super Rugby’s Sunwolves.

‘We try to minimise the poison they take in online’

The defeat by France was the first time England have failed to score a point in the first half of a Five or Six Nations game since 1988

Jones says his players are bitterly disappointed by their first-half display in Pairs, with the World Cup finalists heading back to the dressing rooms 17 points adrift of the hosts.

“We understand we let ourselves and let the fans down but we are hell-bent on redemption against Scotland,” he added.

While England’s players understand the depth of fan feeling, the team’s backroom staff try to protect them from some of the social media backlash that follows defeat.

“That noise is always a factor and more and more so today with social media – it is in the players’ faces,” said Jones.

“They like social media, they want to be a part of social media and when it turns like this, it is difficult for them.

“We have to make sure they keep their focus.

“They have to understand what is important – there will always be criticism, there will always be praise, we just try and minimise the poison they take in.”

Wilson got his hands on the Calcutta Cup after a pre-match confrontation with Owen Farrell in 2018

England have lost three of their last seven away matches against Scotland, including a 25-13 defeat on their most recent visit in 2018.

That match was preceded by a scuffle between England’s Owen Farrell and Scotland’s Ryan Wilson as the two teams came off the pitch at the end of their warm-up.

Jones says he will be reminding his players not to rise to any gamesmanship in the run-up to this year’s fixture.

“They will try and distract and do things to put us off our game and we have to make sure we are on our game,” he said.

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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