Manu Tuilagi’s available for Ireland clash after ban reduced to three matches

Manu Tuilagi will be available for England’s final Guinness Six Nations match against Ireland after being given a reduced three-match ban for dangerous play.

Tuilagi was sent off for an elbow to the head of Tommy Freeman in Sale’s Gallagher Premiership defeat at Northampton on Saturday.

A disciplinary hearing issued a four-game ban that will drop to three if he completes World Rugby’s coaching intervention school.

Manu Tuilagi was sent off against Northampton
Manu Tuilagi was sent off against Northampton (David Davies/PA)

The length of the ban means he will miss England’s fixtures against Wales on Saturday and France a fortnight later, but he will return in time for Ireland on March 18.

However, the powerful centre of Samoan heritage has not appeared in this Six Nations yet having slid down the pecking order under Steve Borthwick.

Owen Farrell, Ollie Lawrence, Joe Marchant and Henry Slade were the preferred midfield options against Scotland and Italy, with Tuilagi even unable to win a place on the bench.

The 31-year-old aimed to use his outing at Franklin’s Gardens as the platform to impress Borthwick but his 14th-minute assault on Freeman has instead further reduced his chances of playing in this Six Nations.