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Wing-bound Manu Tuilagi to solve midfield puzzle

MANU TUILAGI is under serious consideration to start on the wing in the second Test against New Zealand as England head coach Stuart Lancaster attempts to solve his midfield conundrum.

Manu Tuilagi can be as destructive on the wing as he is at centre
Manu Tuilagi can be as destructive on the wing as he is at centre

For the first time since Luther Burrell exploded on to the international stage in the RBS 6 Nations, Lancaster has his three first-choice centres fully fit and at his disposal.

Billy Twelvetrees has recovered from the ankle injury that forced him to miss the 20-15 defeat at Eden Park and Burrell is available again having helped Northampton win the Aviva Premiership title. Moving Tuilagi to the wing has been discussed before and the idea is now being revisited as England seek to level the series at the Forsyth Barr Stadium.

It would be a risky option given the Leicester wrecking ball has barely played out wide since age grade, but Lancaster is confident he would be every bit as destructive if given licence to roam, though he also noted concern about whether he has the ability to challenge for kicks in the air.

"We've got a potential option of playing Manu on the wing, that has been talked about in selection," Lancaster said.

"We have not done that yet, but it's certainly something that could happen. Manu would definitely be a handful on the wing. He has certainly got pace - he's one of the quickest in our squad and can track back.

"He would be a significant threat off phase play and defensively he would be fine, he understands the system. Modern wings are used like Julian Savea [of New Zealand], who creates mayhem from the wing, and I'm sure Manu could do the same."

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