England make seven changes for second test

LIAM NAPIER
Last updated 10:32 12/06/2014
Manu Tuilagi
Getty Images

OUT WIDE: England's Manu Tuilagi will play on the wing in the second test against the All Blacks.

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England have gambled on power. Of the seven changes, two positional, made by Stuart Lancaster for the second test in Dunedin, interest will centre on Manu Tuilagi's shift to the right wing, where he will mark Julian Savea in what shapes as an explosive match-up.

Tuilagi, at centre, was one of England's best in their agonising 20-15 defeat at Eden Park last week. He constantly attracted at least two defenders and still managed to make headway, thus creating space for others.

His shift to the outside gives the tourists a destructive finisher, though his positional play and ability under the high ball is sure to be tested in the largely unfamiliar role.

Tuilagi's move paves the way for the Six Nations midfield pair of fit-again second five-eighth Billy Twelvetrees and Luther Burrell, who possesses similar ball-carrying attributes, to link up. That forces Kyle Eastmond, who started at No. 12 last week, out of the squad completely.

Overall in selecting his team, Lancaster has struck a balance between the first-choice players from the Six Nations and those so-called second stringers who pushed the All Blacks to the brink last week.

Experienced halfback Danny Care should provide more zip around the ruck after recovering from his freak shoulder injury, caused by an embarrassing miss-kick at training, to take over from Ben Youngs.

As expected, Care will re-form his halves partnership with Owen Farrell, who assumes the first-five duties from Freddie Burns.

No 8 Ben Morgan, lock Geoff Parling and hooker Rob Webber have been rewarded for strong showings last week. Webber, in particular, will be pleased to hold off the challenge from England's most experienced player, New Zealand-born rake Dylan Hartley.

The other starting changes feature Tom Wood at blindside, in place of former Highlanders flanker James Haskell, who drops out of the squad, and Marland Yarde lines up on the left wing in place of Jonny May.

The bench will be a source of strength for the English late in the test, with Lancaster able to call on lock Courtney Lawes, No.8 Billy Vunipola, Hartley and wing Chris Ashton.

Kieran Brookes also comes in as the replacement tight-head prop for Henry Thomas, who has picked up a minor injury.

"It's been evident in training all along just how intense competition for places is but especially now we have the guys who arrived at the end of last week," England coach Lancaster said.

"We knew selection for this test was always going to be tough, with the players who played at Eden Park putting their hands up and those who watched from the stands. 

"I am sure it will be a fantastic occasion in Dunedin and we are really looking forward to challenging ourselves against the All Blacks.

"With the Crusaders game coming up around the corner and the third test in Hamilton, all our squad will get opportunities which will be great experience as we continue to develop our depth in the build up to the World Cup."

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ENGLAND: Mike Brown, Manu Tuilagi, Luther Burrell,  Billy Twelvetrees, Marland Yarde, Owen Farrell, Danny Care, Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw (c), Tom Wood, Geoff Parling, Joe Launchbury, David Wilson, Rob Webber, Joe Marler. Reserves: Dylan Hartley, Matt Mullan, Kieran Brookes, Courtney Lawes, Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs, Freddie Burns, Chris Ashton

- Stuff

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