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Henry Tuilagi nears return to fitness

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Henry Tuilagi is closing in on a return to action with Leicester Tigers.

The big Samoan back-row forward has been sidelined since breaking an arm in the EDF Energy Cup tie at Northampton back in December. That game featured his first start of the season after suffering an injury from the replacements bench at Bath in September, and head coach Pat Howard acknowledges his nightmare run.

"Henry has had a horrific time with injuries," said Howard. "He is a big player for us and I'd like to see him out there and get a run of games together, as Seru Rabeni has done since his injury trouble.

"Henry is extremely close to getting back in contention now. It will come down to when he thinks he is ready in the end. It could be any time in the next one, two, three weeks."

Howard reported that Rabeni had suffered a calf injury in the Guinness Premiership victory over NEC Harlequins last week, but Andy Goode, who kicked 17 points on his return from a hamstring injury, came through the game without any adverse reaction.