Manu Tuilagi has joined back up with England and could be in line to make his first appearance of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations against Wales in Round 3.
The centre missed the first two games as he recovered from a torn hamstring but has featured for Sale Sharks.
And the club have confirmed that Tuilagi is now back with England as they look to build on a 33-0 win in Rome on Sunday.
Eddie Jones had already confirmed that Tuilagi could come back in for the game, with Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury and Lewis Ludlam also in line to return.
“Potentially we’ll have Launchbury, Tuilagi, Lawes and Ludlam,” Jones said.
“We’d be hopeful that by the end of next week Courtney will be training fully.
“He’s making some great progress and the medical staff have done some terrific work with him.
“He’s not far away now and we’re really hopeful he’ll be back in full training and able to play against Wales.”
Lawes’ return would be a welcome one for England, for whom Ludlam and Maro Itoje have started in the back row in the first two matches.
But it is in the centres that Jones admits that the lack of a power option has made life more complicated.
Elliot Daly started alongside Henry Slade in the opening defeat in Scotland, with Joe Marchant then shifting to outside centre from wing in Daly’s place for the win in Rome.
But the option of Tuilagi, who could play 12 and allow Slade to move back out a spot, is one that appeals to Jones.
“Just having a power running centre would give us a different option,” he added.
“Everything we’re doing now is about trying to create opportunities through finesse and that’s through good running lines and passing.
“But to have someone who can take you forward quickly and engage two or three defenders then allows you to try and finesse extra space, which would be really useful to us.
“We’ve had three centres play and I think Sladey has been very good. Joe Marchant and Elliot Daly have had their moments, but we need to get more out of that and we understand that.”
PLAY GUINNESS SIX NATIONS FANTASY RUGBY