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Tuilagi will miss Scotland while Thomas replaces Corbisiero

Manu Tuilagi has been ruled out of England’s opening Six Nations fixture, against Scotland on Saturday.

The Samoan born centre has an ankle injury and though he is able to run on it he has not been able to take any part in training, he is expected to be fit for the Ireland game next week though.

For Alex Corbisiero though the news is a little worse, he is expected to miss the entire tournament and Sale Sharks’ Henry Thomas has been called up in his place.

Corbisiero joins Callum Clark and Tom Johnson in missing the entire tournament, whilst Gloucester’s Freddie Burns will miss the first two games as he returns to his club for treatment to his knee.

The injury to Tuilagi means a reshuffle for the England midfield which was so devastating against New Zealand in the autumn.

Brad Barritt looks set to remain in the side after Stuart Lancaster, speaking about the Tuilagi injury, said:

“Brad will be in the equation and we need to make sure we can still break the gain line and have physical defenders”

It could mean a first cap for Billy Twelvetrees, though Jonathan Joseph is another option. Both Owen Farrell and Toby Flood can also do a turn in the centres, though with Freddie Burns out they will both be hoping for the chance to really seal their name on the fly half shirt.

Lancaster will name his team to face Scotland on Thursday, though he sounded as though he was already fairly sure of what needed to be done:

“We have a pretty good idea of how we’ll rejig the midfield. We have our thoughts, we’ve got to have the ability to get across the gain line and defend.”

Speaking about Corbisiero’s injury and rumours that it has more serious than publicly announced, Lancaster strongly denied this:

“The reality is the surgeons recommended two weeks rest and said it would then take six to eight weeks to be back playing, so that will rule him out of the Six Nations.”

“Hopefully he’ll be back around the final game against Wales, but the reality is he’ll have to play two or three Premiership games first. Alex is a big loss, but Joe Marler has played well for Harlequins recently. Mako Vunipola is improving all the time and Nick Wood was outstanding for the Saxons.”

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