Manu’s ma­jor im­pact

Youngs hails the tran­quil­ity that Tu­ilagi’s be­lated re­turn has cre­ated in Eng­land camp

Sport360 - - European Tables And Fixtures - By Dun­can Bech @Dun­canBech ✉ ed­i­to­rial@sport360.com

Manu Tu­ilagi’s im­mi­nent Eng­land come­back in time to face New Zealand at Twick­en­ham has had a calm­ing ef­fect on Ed­die Jones’ un­der­dogs, ac­cord­ing to Ben Youngs.

Tu­ilagi was due to make his first in­ter­na­tional ap­pear­ance in two years in the 12-11 vic­tory over South Africa that opened the au­tumn in­ter­na­tion­als, only to with­draw from the bench be­cause of a mi­nor groin strain.

But the Le­ices­ter cen­tre, whose ca­reer has been rav­aged by a suc­ces­sion of groin, knee and ham­string in­juries, has trained fully this week and is in­cluded in a 25-man squad to con­tinue prepa­ra­tions for the head­line fix­ture of the au­tumn.

Four years ago he scat­tered the All Blacks with a ram­pag­ing dis­play in a fa­mous 38-21 vic­tory at Twick­en­ham and Youngs – his Tigers col­league – is ea­ger for him to make his mark once again.

“I was gut­ted when he pulled out, but it was a tiny nig­gle. If it had hap­pened on the Mon­day he would have prob­a­bly been all right, but with some­one like him, it was not worth risk­ing,” Youngs said.

“We know what a world-class op­er­a­tor Manu is. It set­tles down the boys to know that he’s there.”

Tom Curry has been ruled out of the re­main­der of the au­tumn series by the an­kle in­jury sus­tained against South Africa, so his place among the 25 in con­tention for the All Blacks goes to Sam Un­der­hill.

Curry limped off in the sec­ond half at Twick­en­ham and – af­ter hav­ing the joint scanned – it was con­firmed he is fac­ing an ex­tended spell on the side­lines. Un­der­hill is ex­pected to re­place him when Jones names his team on Thurs­day.

Eng­land have oth­er­wise been given a clean bill of health ahead of Satur­day’s visit of New Zealand – the first time the ri­vals have met in four years.

Court­ney Lawes is avail­able hav­ing over­come a back prob­lem that forced him to miss the same match so he takes El­liot Stooke’s place among the 25 who will re­main at the squad’s Sur­rey train­ing base.

Some Eng­land play­ers may doubt how well known they are to their Kiwi op­po­nents, but Youngs is only too aware of the dam­age the world cham­pi­ons can cause.

Chris Ash­ton has re­vealed that it was clear when speak­ing to All Black Malakai Fek­i­toa dur­ing his sea­son at Toulon that “he lit­er­ally didn’t know what the Pre­mier­ship was. He had no idea”. Eng­land are well versed in what to ex­pect, how­ever.

“One thing about the All Blacks is that you are go­ing to have to score tries. We know that,” Youngs said.

“I don’t like the word ‘con­tain­ing’ be­cause it im­plies we will go out there and see what they have got.

“That is one thing we def­i­nitely don’t want to do be­cause we know what they’re ca­pa­ble of.”

We know what a world­class op­er­a­tor Manu is. It set­tles down the boys – Youngs

Good to be back: Manu Tu­ilagi laughs dur­ing Eng­land’s train­ing ses­sion.

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