Tuilagi back on centre stage
Thu, 19 Jun 2014 05:04
Our aim was to win a Test series
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.
Eastmond did not play the second Test, with Lancaster having preferred the Six Nations combination Billy Twelvetrees and Luther Burrell - the latter dropping down to the replacement bench.
Twelvetrees was axed from the matchday squad alltogether.
Freddie Burns has returned as the starting flyhalf, as expected, after Owen Farrell was ruled out with a knee injury, while Ben Youngs replaces the injured Danny Care at No.9 to restore the first Test halfback combination.
There are three changes in the pack - with Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Billy Vunipola taking over from Rob Webber, Joe Launchbury and Ben Morgan respectively.
"We want to finish the tour and the season on a high and we have a fantastic opportunity on Saturday," Lancaster said.
"Our aim was to win a Test series and we are disappointed that we haven't but I am confident the players selected will go all out to achieve the win on Saturday.
"We have progressed as a squad during this tour and while there has been challenges with the end of season scheduling affecting selection it has been a great opportunity to work with a wider group of players and test many of them at the highest level in the build up to the World Cup."
England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 David Wilson, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Luther Burrell.
Date: Saturday, June 21
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT; 08.35 BST)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)
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