Wednesday 20 November 2019

Tuilagi handed bench role to boost English firepower

Manu Tuilagi
Manu Tuilagi

England are to name Manu Tuilagi on the bench for their final match of the Six Nations against Italy after including him in their match-day squad for Rome.

Tuilagi has been recalled at the expense of Alex Goode following his recovery from the torn pectoral muscle that kept him sidelined for six months.

The 22-year-old has played just 70 minutes for his club Leicester since returning to fitness, but head coach Stuart Lancaster believes he is ready for the Stadio Olimpico points grab.

It will be his first appearance for England since last season's Six Nations defeat by Wales in Cardiff, that crushed the visiting team's title hopes.

"Manu is up to speed with the way we want to play," Lancaster said.

"Alex has done well for us off the bench and is naturally disappointed, but we believe Manu, with the power he can bring, is the right choice."

While Goode's demotion from the replacements bench is a tough call, Lancaster deems it necessary to bring as much firepower as possible to bear on Italy.

If England win in Rome, the title will be decided by points difference, Ireland and France – who clash in Paris – also competing for the crown.

Irish Independent

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