Tuilagi back at centre for England in third test

Last updated 10:38 19/06/2014
Manu Tuilagi
Getty
CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Manu Tuilagi will start at centre for England against the All Blacks in Hamilton on Saturday night.

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England coach Stuart Lancaster has switched the powerful Manu Tuilagi back to centre and made a total of eight positional changes to his side for the third test against the All Blacks in Hamilton on Saturday night.

Tuilagi, who was an impressive performer in the opening test in Auckland, struggled to make the same impact on the right wing in Dunedin last weekend as the All Blacks took an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series and the burly Leicester Tigers outside back now moves back to the midfield in place of Luther Burrell.

Lancaster has been forced to name Ben Youngs and Freddie Burns as his inside-back pairing following injuries to Danny Care and Owen Farrell.

The decision to revamp the midfield means Kyle Eastmond comes in for Billy Twelvetrees at second five-eighth to start alongside Tuilagi.

Chris Ashton, who scored a late try in the 28-27 loss in Dunedin, fills the vacancy left by Tuilagi.

There are three changes in the pack with hooker Dylan Hartley, lock Courtney Lawes and No 8 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.''

England, who are having a training session in Christchurch this morning before flying to Hamilton, hope to fire a psychological shot at the All Blacks in Hamilton ahead of next year's World Cup in their own backyard.

"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,'' Lancaster added.

ENGLAND: Mike Brown, Chris Ashton, Manusamoa Tuilagi, Kyle Eastmond, Marland Yarde, Freddie Burns, Ben Youngs, Billy Vunipola, Chris Robshaw, Tom Wood, Geoff Parling, Courtney Lawes, David Wilson, Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler. Reserves: Rob Webber, Matt Mullan, Kieran Brookes, Joe Launchbury, Ben Morgan, Lee Dickson, Danny Cipriani, Luther Burrell.

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