Manu Tuilagi could yet play a role in England's Six Nations campaign. The Leicester and British Lions centre had been expected to miss the entire tournament but is targeting a return to action in the middle of next month, opening up the possibility of an unexpected return for the key fixture against Wales at Twickenham on 9 March.
Tuilagi tore a pectoral muscle while playing for Leicester against Newcastle in September and after undergoing unsuccessful rehabilitation was operated on in November. He missed the autumn internationals and it was presumed he would not be seen again in an England shirt until the summer's tour to New Zealand. But an intensive training regime is progressing well leaving Tuilagi looking at a mid-February return for Leicester in the Premiership.
"The body's not too bad," said Tuilagi. "I'm fresh. I'm training every minute, physio, rehab, massage, every day. It's been hard work, doing more work than when you're playing which is the worst thing you could ever want. I haven't targeted a game. I just want to get back on the pitch. I am aiming to be back in mid-February. I just want to take my time and get my injury right first and then worry about playing."
There was more good news for Stuart Lancaster with Danny Care set to recover from the ankle injury he suffered in Harlequins' Heineken Cup defeat at Clermont Auvergne on Saturday. Care underwent a further scan on Monday night with the expectation he will be given the all-clear.
Concussion course mandatory for elite
English rugby's Professional Game Board has introduced a compulsory education programme on concussion for players and coaches.
The PGB, made up of representatives of the Rugby Football Union, Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players' Association, has made it mandatory for the online module to be completed before the start of next season.
The course will apply to the Aviva Premiership, Championship and Regional Academies, while further resources will be made available to referees and medical staff.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies