Manu Tuilagi's likely return has England dreaming of 2012

Aubrey Yates
November 8, 2018

New Zealand opened their autumn campaign by beating Japan 31-69 in Tokyo on Saturday, with a mainly second-string side.

He kept his place for last Saturday's match against the Springboks at Twickenham, which England won 12-11, but looked in a good deal of pain when limping off two minutes into the second half.

"He's in great physical shape and unfortunately had an injury a year ago that ruled him out when he was going well, but he's an excellent player".

Tuilagi's arguably best match in an England shirt came during his try-scoring display in a 38-21 win over New Zealand at Twickenham in 2012.

"We know what a world-class operator Manu is", Youngs told Sky Sports. 'Seeing him in your team settles the boys down knowing he is there.

'So having guys like him and other guys is vital because you need guys that are going to be game changers or game-breakers and he's certainly one of those guys, so he's going to be important if he's involved'.

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Tuilagi has been joined in the squad by Courtney Lawes who has overcome a back problem, but Tom Curry is out with an ankle injury sustained in the win over South Africa.

Some England players may doubt how well known they are to their Kiwi opponents, but Youngs is only too aware of the damage the world champions can cause.

"Our belief is very good", he said. "I'm sure if he's given the opportunity that he would be able to certainly give us a lot of go-forward and be a key cog to this team. He is looking good".

"I think it's important to recognise that there's a reason they've been so dominant for years".

Jones also said that Owen Farrell "should be alright" to play after taking a bang to the hip in a collision with on Andre Esterhuizen during the Springboks game.

"We have got [Sam] Underhill or [Mark] Wilson that can play No 7 and there is an opportunity for [Zach] Mercer to play No 8".

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