England supremo Eddie Jones should resist selecting Manu Tuilagi until the 2018 Six Nations and allow the troubled centre to recapture his best form for Leicester, according to Tigers teammate Telusa Veainu.
Injury-hit Tuilagi was summoned for the recent Red Rose training camp despite not having played since January, but was ejected in disgrace after breaking the team’s code of conduct following a late-night drinking session with Denny Solomona.
Veainu claims frustration was at the root of Tuilagi’s indiscretion and insists his backline colleague must now be left to concentrate on Leicester.
“We’ve welcomed Manu back and he just needs to get along doing his job now,” Veainu told The RugbyPaper. “I’ve had a good chat with Manu about realising where he is and all the little things he’s been having to work on since he’s been injured.
“The guy’s been injured for so long and when you do the same thing of rehabbing and being around the camp without actually participating, it’s pretty tough.
Tongan Test star Veainu, the former Highlanders, Crusaders and Rebels wing, added: “What happened with England was born out of frustration but he wants to just play well for Leicester now. He wants to get one game under his belt, then two and it’s the little things he’s been missing like team runs and getting out there.
“What happened with England, for me, was a minor incident, but he’s in a good head space now and is really looking forward to playing for Leicester.”
Jones will host another England training camp in Oxford on 24-26 September and has outlined Tuilagi’s importance to their World Cup hopes – could he be the difference? For all your rugby betting needs, check out this rugby betting guide.
Veainu added: “You have to realise where the player is and what he’s been through.
“To be out of the game for that long and everybody is constantly asking you about when you’re coming back to play, it’s just a ticking time-bomb really.
“He’s got the world on his shoulders, so the best thing is to leave him alone and let him do his thing; leave him at Leicester, let him play for us for four or five months solid and build his confidence.
“Forget about England, just let him get some good minutes under his belt and find the enjoyment and motivation for what got him success in the first place.
“England should leave Manu where he is and, if he’s playing well, maybe think about him again in January.”