Manu Tuilagi: Leicester and England centre returns to fitness

England and Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi has recovered from his chest muscle injury and could return to club action against Newcastle Falcons on Sunday, reports BBC Radio Leicester.

But the 22-year-old is unlikely to play in the final two Six Nations games against Wales or Italy next month.

Tuilagi has not played since being hurt against the Falcons in September,

England's Six Nations fixtures

  • 9 March: England v Wales
  • 15 March: Italy v England

England head coach Stuart Lancaster said that playing international rugby so soon would be a "big step".

He told BBC Sport: "The good thing is he is back and hopefully we will bring him in to camp next week.

"He has been out for such a long time and not been able to train so we will bring him in next week and spend some time with him. But it would be a big step."

Meanwhile, Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill has dismissed speculation that Tuilagi is a target for rugby league side Salford Red Devils. 

He is contracted to the Tigers for the next two years and Cockerill said they will do "everything they can" to keep him.

"There's no truth in it," Cockerill added. "I think it's just been made up. We will do everything we can to keep him for the long term."

And Cockerill was thrilled to have his powerful centre available again.

"Manu has been good and training well," Cockerill said. "He has only played one game all season. We are delighted to have him back and I am sure he will get on at some part of the game and get some time under his belt."