British & Irish Lion Manu Tuilagi remains a doubt for England’s Six Nations opener against Wales, although his Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill expects the centre to still play some part in the competition.
Leicester’s Tuilagi has been out of action since October as he struggles with a groin injury, although he is expected to be back by the end of January.
However, England’s clash with Wales on February 6 could prove a bridge too far for the 23-year-old, who came off the bench in the decisive third Test as the British & Irish Lions secured a 2-1 series victory over Australia in 2013.
But Cockerill is remaining positive that Tuilagi will be back in an England shirt before the dust has settled on the 2015 Six Nations.
"It [England’s game with Wales] may well come too soon, we'll see," Cockerill said. "It's a day-by-day, week-by-week thing. Manu is so important to club and country.
"By the end of this month, Manu will be playing. He is progressing really well, and we want to get him right.
“He will be fit for the Six Nations at some point."