England boost as Manu Tualagi returns to international fold… and stars believe he can fire them to World Cup glory

MANU TUILAGI is primed for a block-busting return to England duty — with team-mates believing he can win them the World Cup.

The box-office centre is fit and firing for an autumn series for the first time since destroying the All Blacks in 2012.

 Manu Tuilagi is primed for a return to the England set-up

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Manu Tuilagi is primed for a return to the England set-up

Battering-ram Tuilagi, 27, has featured just once under boss Eddie Jones — coming off the bench against Wales in the 2016 Six Nations — after being plagued by knee, thigh, pectoral and shoulder problems.

Ahead of Saturday’s clash with South Africa, full-back Mike Brown said: “Manu’s special.

“He’s a great player on his day and we need those sort of players if we want to go on and win the World Cup, so it’s great to see him back.”

Samoan-born Tuilagi weighs in at more than 17 stone of raw muscle and will be confirmed as part of England’s matchday squad when Jones trims down his Portugal camp today.

 The 17st powerhouse has featured just once under Eddie Jones

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The 17st powerhouse has featured just once under Eddie Jones
 His team-mates believes Tuilagi is key for any World Cup triumph

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His team-mates believes Tuilagi is key for any World Cup triumph

But it is the way he can bounce off defenders and break tackles, as well as put in the big hits, which Jones will look to use him for.

Brown added: “Manu is such a powerful man with an off-loading game and an ability to get over the gainline and cause havoc for defences.

“If defences focus on him there’ll be space elsewhere, but if they don’t he can easily beat a man with his power. He can beat two men with his power.”

England have struggled for a world-class Test animal at outside centre with Elliot Daly preferred on the wing or full-back and Jonathan Joseph now injured.

 Scott Brown is delighted to see Tuilagi back in the international frame

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Scott Brown is delighted to see Tuilagi back in the international frame

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Henry Slade started all three summer games with the Springboks but is more suited to a passing or kicking game.

And with Billy Vunipola and his older brother Mako out, England are desperately short of ball carriers.

But even Boks coach Rassie Erasmus said: “Manu is definitely a threat. He brings aggression, directness, physicality and intimidation to England. It’ll be a challenge.”

MANU TUILAGI is primed for a block-busting return to England duty — with team-mates believing he can win them the World Cup.