British and Irish Lions: Manu Tuilagi thrilled to be facing the Rebels

Last Updated: 24/06/13 10:40am

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Manu Tuilagi is delighted to be returning to action

Manu Tuilagi is delighted to be returning to action

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British and Irish Lions centre Manu Tuilagi is thrilled to be facing the Melbourne Rebels on Tuesday having shaken off an injury that threatened his tour.

The Leicester and England star, 22, damaged his shoulder during the tour victory over the Queensland Reds but has made a rapid recovery and is targeting selection for the Test team.

Tuilagi said: "I'm finally ready to back out there and play some rugby. It's been frustrating when you're injured, watching the boys play and all you can do is show your support.

"After the Reds game, I couldn't really move my arms but all thanks to the physios. I'm really pleased and excited to be back playing tomorrow.

Play hard

"It's an opportunity for myself and the other lads that didn't play on Saturday to show that we're all trying to get into that Test team."

With the news that veteran lock Paul O'Connell is ruled out for the remainder of the tour by a broken arm, his likely replacement Geoff Parling has been stood down for Tuesday's clash - resulting in Dan Lydiate assuming captaincy duties.

When the Welshman was quizzed on how he plans to lead the tourists, Lydiate said: "I'm not going to keep talking and talking gibberish. I'm not going to try and over-complicate things by doing things I wouldn't usually do.

"I'm just going to go out there and play as hard as possible. I'll lead how I play.

"I've captained the Dragons a few times. Nothing changes really. There are just different voices and what-not. I'm really looking forward to it tomorrow. It's a massive honour for me."

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