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Henry close to full fitness

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Henry Tuilagi is closing in on a return to full fitness and to a first-team recall with Leicester Tigers. The Samoan back row has been out of action with a hamstring problem since limping out of the trip to Bath on the second weekend of the season, but he played a part of the Guinness A League victory away to Leeds Tykes on Monday evening and can now step up his push for more competitive action.

Forwards coach Richard Cockerill said: "Henry has had a hamstring problem and it has taken a while to clear up. He had a similar injury a couple of years ago and came through that very well.

"He is a big influence on our game and how we play. He gives us penetration and a huge amount of physicality. We know that when he is right he is a very special player for us.

"He may or may not be involved this weekend, that will depend on what we decide with our medical staff. We will see if this is the best weekend for him or whether we wait for another week or so."

Tuilagi played for half an hour of the opening game of the Guinness Premiership season against Sale after starting on the bench but suffered his injury after playing just a dozen minutes of the defeat at Bath.

Although Cockerill said a number of players are carrying knocks, they are not serious. And if Tuilagi returns to contention, the only player ruled out for any length of time by injury is centre Ollie Smith who is working his way back from a knee ligament problem.