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England too strong for Ireland

Manu Tuilagi

Manu Tuilagi cemented his place in England's Rugby World Cup midfield as Martin Johnson's men signed off their tournament preparations with a 20-9 victory over Ireland.

The Leicester centre scored his second try in as many Tests and produced a ferocious defensive performance as England went some way to avenging their Dublin defeat in March, which cost them the Grand Slam.

Delon Armitage came off the bench to latch onto Mike Tindall's grubber kick for England's second try and Jonny Wilkinson added 10 points with the boot. Ireland's response was three penalties from Ronan O'Gara.

Tuilagi, just 20, two Tests and now two tries into his international career, already looks the answer to England's long-standing midfield problems.

The Anglo-Samoan juggernaut lined up alongside captain Tindall to form England's 13th different centre partnership in 35 Tests.

And with England's opening World Cup clash with Argentina just a fortnight away, Johnson appears to have found the right combination just in time.

The England manager will have been just as pleased with his side's defensive effort and he celebrated the result with a punch to the air.

But in Ireland's camp, the problems continue to mount for coach Declan Kidney.

Ireland will head to New Zealand on Tuesday on the back of four warm-up defeats and without David Wallace in their ranks.

The Munster flanker reached for his knee after a tackle from Tuilagi and appeared in agony as he was driven from the field on a medical cart.