Tindall lauds try-scoring Tuilagi
August 27, 2011
Tindall impressed in the England win over Ireland and set up Delon Armitage's second-half try © Getty Images
England captain Mike Tindall hailed the impact of centre partner Manu Tuilagi in the wake of their 20-9 win over Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Tindall was named man of the match but Tuilagi, making only his second Test appearance, also caught the eye with a dynamic display topped by his fifth-minute try that helped propel England to their first win in Ireland since 2003. The pair now look set to start England's World Cup opener against Argentina on September 10 and Tindall admitted the 20-year-old is a dream to play alongside.
"It's great playing next to him. If you're in any doubt just give him the ball!" he said. "He's a physical specimen who can create anything from nothing. When you're as big as he is, with the acceleration that he has...that's what did it for him in that first try. He has a powerful hand-off and that little kick off as well, which makes him tough to tackle.
"You saw the raw power that Manu's got and the raw talent, and every time he takes the field in that shirt I think he's going to grow and get better and better," added Tindall before praising the impact of flanker Hendre Fourie who produced a notable 20-minute cameo after being drafted into the side on the morning of the game. "Hendre Fourie also deserves to be singled out. For him to come into the side at the last minute was impressive and I thought he was playing well until he tweaked his hamstring."
Tindall was also hugely impressed with his side's general performance as they made amends for their 24-8 loss at the end of March which saw Ireland end England's Grand Slam hopes. "It's a massive result for us especially as the win came here," he said. "The atmosphere and the opposition was first class. We were disappointed with how the Six Nations and Wales game finished and we felt we had points to prove to ourselves and we started brightly.
"The weather dictated things but I was massively impressed with our intensity today. We kept hitting them back so credit has to go to the boys. Of course revenge was mentioned after our last visit here. But you do not need much motivation when you face Ireland and you must use every tool at your disposal. We talked about the stuff that was mentioned last time around and we were not going to allow Ireland to overwhelm us with their intensity."
England have won two out of their three warm-up games and Tindall was delighted that the squad will depart for New Zealand with a morale boosting victory. "We'll be buzzing now and hopefully that buzz will grow and we'll hit the ground running in the World Cup."
Martin Johnson delivered an encouraging fitness update, claiming he expected all 30 of the squad selected for the World Cup to depart for New Zealand on Monday afternoon. The absence of Nick Easter and Tom Wood (both calf) today were both precautionary, while Mark Cueto (back spasm) should be ready to face Argentina. Hendre Fourie, a late replacement for Easter who has not been included in the World Cup squad, left the pitch with a hamstring injury but Johnson insisted it is not serious.
In contrast, Ireland captain Paul O'Connell was left with plenty of food for thought after his side crashed to their fourth straight defeat. "That was a stop-start to the game," O'Connell said. "We could not get any intensity or tempo to the game. England scored a try and settled down well. There were far too many mistakes and we conceded too many turnovers, along with one or two lineout turnovers that cost us territory and possession."
A miserable day for Ireland was compounded by confirmation that flanker David Wallace, who was forced off injured in the first half, will miss the World Cup with a knee injury. Ireland boss Kidney commented: "David took the news like the man he is. There's a word I'm not supposed to say in public, but it happens. You have to deal with these things. He's 35 and I've never seen a man as physically fit as he is right now. Never. It's heartbreaking for him and his family. It's extremely disappointing for us and will be good news for someone else. That's the cut-throat nature of sport."
Wallace wasn't the only Irish player to pick up an injury during the game, with Cian Healy (eye), Jerry Flannery (shin), Stephen Ferris (hand) and Jamie Heaslip (concussion) all picking up knocks. Of those, the first-half withdrawal of Heaslip caused the most concern but Kidney was quick to soothe fears that Ireland could yet travel without their talismanic No.8. "Jamie had to come off, but has come around fine and is talking away to the lads," the two-time Heineken Cup winning coach said. "Hopefully with a bit of a rest he'll be OK."
The number of injuries sustained by Ireland will again spark debate over their busy warm-up schedule but Kidney is adamant that he was right to ensure that his players do not go into the World Cup 'under-cooked'.
"All of the lads have had around two games and they needed those two games," he said. "If you go to the World Cup you want to compete at the highest level. We wanted to challenge ourselves against England and France to know exactly where we are, and we know now. We've lost four in the series, which is extremely disappointing. That's not what we aimed for. No excuses to camouflage results, we're here to get results. We'll keep working and will get better."
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