All Blacks look to expose Manu Tuilagi on wing
June 12, 2014
Manu Tuilagi ... big and powerful but can he jump? © Getty Images
New Zealand will look to expose Manu Tuilagi in the subtle arts of wing play after England coach Stuart Lancaster named his wrecking ball on the right flank for the second Test at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday.
The Samoa-born 23-year-old will make his first Test start in the position to create room for England's Six Nations midfield of Luther Burrell and Billy Twelvetrees, and his clash with Julian Savea, who returns from injury on New Zealand's left wing, is one to savour.
"On the wing he's going to have to work," All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said of Tuilagi. "Wing's a totally different position to centre in that he can go wherever he wants to go but he's got to have the energy to do that."
Savea is relishing the chance to lock horns with Tuilagi, while All Blacks fly-half Aaron Cruden hinted the selection would prompt some tactical tweaks from the hosts.
"He's a natural midfielder who hasn't played much wing so maybe we'd put a few [kicks] up on him and test him early," Cruden said.
But Cruden noted the All Blacks also had to devise a plan to tackle the 110kg powerhouse who, in the No.13 jumper, was involved in all three England tries when they beat New Zealand 38-21 in London 18 months ago and who shrugged off tacklers regularly in Auckland last week.
"He's really thick in the legs," Cruden said of Tuilagi. "As a young fella you're taught to go low and drop him there, but it doesn't seem to work against him."
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