'We are not reliant on Manu Tuilagi'
January 30, 2013
Brad Barritt will look to take the game to Scotland on Saturday © Getty Images
With nine tries in 17 games for England, Tuilagi is one of England's most potent attackers and his worth to Stuart Lancaster's side was emphasised through his starring role in their memorable win over the All Blacks on December 1. Tuilagi bagged a try and teed up the other two to help England to their 38-21 victory but he will be watching from the sidelines when Lancaster's men take to the field against Scotland on Saturday.
Billy Twelvetrees now looks the favourite to start in the centres with Barritt potentially shifting to outside centre to accommodate the uncapped Gloucester back at No.12. England managed just two tries in their first three matches of last year's Six Nations but Barritt is adamant that they will pack a punch come Saturday.
"No team are reliant on one person and we have known for some time Manu wasn't going to be involved because of his injury and guys have stepped up in training," Barritt told the London Evening Standard. "People will step up to the mark.
"Manu is a fantastic player and an asset to any team but, having said that, there are numerous guys in this team who have proved their worth in the Premiership and international games and whatever partnership is selected, they will bring their own unique skills.
"Wherever the team need me - 12 or 13 - I am happy to fill that role. There are variations to how the game is to be played in each role and at 13 it's important to keep the width and be more of a strike runner and link man. The defensive work is also key and the reading of the play has to be more adept. You can run the defence from 13 even though you are not making as many tackles per game as inside centre."
Barritt will come up against fellow Saracens team-mate Kelly Brown who will skipper Scotland into the Calcutta Cup clash. He is fully aware of Brown's threats and anticipates a hotly fought battle in the back-row.
"Kelly will lead from the front," added Barritt. "Australia slowed down the ball and, as a result, our play, and we are expecting a hugely contested battle. There is no better exponent of that than Kelly at the break down and every player in our team has a responsibility to nullify their threat in this area. Scotland will go out of their way to spoil any quick ball."
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