England coach Stuart Lancaster has made a number of changes to his team ahead of the third and final Test against New Zealand at the Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, on Saturday.
Most notably was the decision to move Manu Tuilagi’s back to midfield, making his transition to a Test wing a very shortlived affair.
Tuilagi, who caused trouble for New Zealand from his preferred centre position in the first Test in Auckland, was largely anonymous on the right wing for the second Test in Dunedin last week.
He will be joined in midfield by his first Test centre partner Kyle Eastmond.
When Martin Johnson’s England side beat the All Blacks in Wellington in 2003, it was a massive step on their way to becoming world champions later that year.
The timescale is a bit different this time – the World Cup is still 16 months away – but England must be thinking they can put a real marker down once again in New Zealand.
They could, and maybe should, have beaten the world champions in the first Test last week.
And now, with a team strengthened by the arrival of half-a-team’s worth of first-choice players, they will have real belief they can level the series at 1-1 in Dunedin on Saturday.
England centre Manu Tuilagi could miss next year’s Six Nations after his club Leicester revealed on Tuesday that he will be sidelined until February with a chest injury.
With the end of year tours just over six weeks away there is some bad news for two of the top centres who would have been looking forward for turning out for their countries against Southern Hemisphere opponents. England’s Manu Tuilagi joins team mate Brad Barritt on the sidelines while Lions and Wales centre Jamie Roberts also looks set to miss out on the action due to injury.
England centre Manu Tuilagi has apologised for making a “bunny ears” gesture behind the head of British Prime Minister David Cameron in a photocall at 10 Downing Street.
“Apologies for messing around on Lions photo. No offence intended,” Tuilagi said on Twitter. “
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill has criticised the British and Irish Lions management over their handling of injuries to centre Manu Tuilagi and scrum-half Ben Youngs.
Ireland wing Simon Zebo will make his British and Irish Lions debut against New South Wales Waratahs on Saturday. Zebo joined the squad as cover on Tuesday and goes straight into a strong side containing up to a dozen likely Test contenders.
England centre Billy Twelvetrees is joining the British and Irish Lions’ tour of Australia as cover for the tourists’ injury-affected backline. Twelvetrees, 24, has been on England duty in Argentina, scoring a try in the 32-3 win over the Pumas at the weekend.
Billy Twelvetrees has kept his place in England’s starting XV for Sunday’s match against Ireland in Dublin, while James Haskell makes his first start in the Six Nations since 2011.
The first weekend of Six Nations 2013 has come and gone with two of the results as expected by many as Ireland and England claimed victories over Wales and Scotland respectively. The final match of the weekend saw Italy score what was seen as a surprise victory over France in Rome.
The intensity of the games took their toll though with various injuries incurred by the teams. We bring some of the news from the various squads regarding the injuries and player availability.
England have suffered another injury blow ahead of their Six Nations Championship opener as centre Manu Tuilagi will miss the match due to an ankle injury.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster does not believe powerful centre Manu Tuilagi will be less of a threat in the No.12 jersey.