Planet Rugby

England not gambling with Tuilagi

12th June 2014 07:12

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Switch: Manu Tuilagi

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has made it clear that there is no risk involved with moving Manu Tuilagi onto the wing.

Tuilagi was effective for England last week in Auckland but has made way onto the wing as Billy Twelvetrees and Luther Burrell return in midfield.

Lancaster however dismissed the idea that Tuilagi was unable to play out wide, citing his previous experience and skill-set.

"There's not really an element of risk, when we look at the work Manu's done during the week in training," said Lancaster.

"He's played there as an age grade player, so he has played there before.

"As with all selections, you look at the pros and cons and the balance of our side has been enhanced by having Luther and Billy back in the centres and Owen Farrell and Danny Care at nine and 10.

"It's something we've wanted to look at for a while, so we're very comfortable with this selection. Wing is not a new position for him.

"Manu's done a few high balls in training, but the way we defend our wingers will be up and the back field will be covered by number eight, 15, 10.

"He's more than happy catching the high ball, there's no doubt about it. I'm sure some will come his way."

Reflecting on last week's narrow loss, Lancaster underlined his respect for the All Blacks and expected a more cohesive effort from the hosts this week.

"We are very respectful of New Zealand and the way they closed out the game at Eden Park," added Lancaster.

"We did lots of good things but ultimately didn't win, and New Zealand deserve huge credit for that.

"I'm sure they'll be better prepared and have more cohesion for this Test.

"They'll be a significantly better side this week, so we need to be better also."

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