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Tuilagi starts on the wing

Manu Tuilagi will start England's second Test against New Zealand on the wing in the biggest selection call of Stuart Lancaster's reign as head coach.

Driven by the need to bring as much firepower to bear as possible on the All Blacks, Tuilagi will be shifted from outside centre to accommodate the established RBS 6 Nations partnership of Billy Twelvetrees and Luther Burrell.

Twelvetrees will be making his first appearance since damaging ankle ligaments six weeks ago while Burrell returns after helping Northampton claim the Aviva Premiership title.

Moving Tuilagi on to the right wing opposite the prolific Julian Savea, who has recovered from a knee problem, is a brave but exciting decision that has been under consideration for the past six to 10 months.

The 23-year-old last filled the position for Leicester in 2011 and was conspicuous as England's most potent attacking force in the 20-15 defeat at Eden Park from his accustomed position at 13.

With victory at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday essential to set up a series decider in Hamilton, the timing of the change is risky, but Lancaster is convinced it will work.

"We had to make sure in training that Manu understood the way our wingers defend and was comfortable with that because obviously it's a change for him," Lancaster said.

"He was happy and certainly when we talked through our strike plays we've got some real options now.

"We've got that balance in our backline we've always looked for, which is pace, power, ball-carrying and footballing ability.

"Having seen Manu play on the wing at age grade and understanding how effective he was, I always thought of it as an option.

"What we've now got is some real quality in the centres who can get the ball to him.

"The ball will be kicked to him a fair amount so he'll have plenty of counter-attack opportunities.

"But we have to be careful not to suggest we're basing our whole gameplan around one player because we're certainly not.

"The physicality of our centres has not been diminished by picking Billy and Luther. Luther can do things and distribute in ways Manu can't."

Lancaster is confident that Twelvetrees - who offers the playmaking option at inside centre he favours - is ready to play despite his recent inactivity.

"All you can do is trust your instincts and in what you see in training," said Lancaster, who has made seven changes, two positional, following last weekend's defeat in Auckland.

"Everything I have seen in training has led me to believe that Billy is ready to start."

England are confident Tuilagi, who ousts Jonny May from the 23 completely, has the pace, speed on the turn and defence to make the transition a success.

The only question mark hangs over his aerial ability, but a plan has been devised to compensate for his shortcomings in this area.

"If Manu doesn't quite get up in the air and someone else catches it, he'll tackle them. Quite hard," Lancaster said.

Sitting lower on the selectorial Richter Scale than Tuilagi but surprising nonetheless was Geoff Parling's retention in the second row alongside Joe Launchbury.

Courtney Lawes, another of Northampton's Premiership heroes, was expected to replace Parling but the British and Irish Lion's leadership, line-out expertise and superb performance in the first Test have proved decisive.

Rob Webber has won the 50-50 call over Dylan Hartley while Ben Morgan continues at number eight with Billy Vunipola sitting on a heavyweight bench that is central to England's gameplan for Dunedin.

It is hoped the arrival of Hartley, Lawes, Vunipola and wing Chris Ashton in the final half-hour will tip the scales against the All Blacks.

"We feel the game is going to take the full 80 minutes to win and part of the selection has been the make-up of the bench," Lancaster said.

"The likes of Dylan, Courtney and Billy Vunipola will bring a huge amount of energy from the bench and hopefully see us home.

"Billy's quite a good person to have on your bench when he's angry and annoyed because he's missed out on starting.

"Chris' role will be coming on and getting on the end of linebreaks - we made quite a lot of linebreaks last week but didn't quite finish them off."

As expected Tom Wood returns at blindside flanker with the unlucky James Haskell dropping out of the 23 altogether.

Owen Farrell and Danny Care, who has recovered from a shoulder problem, start at half-back with Freddie Burns offering fly-half and full-back cover from the bench.

:: England team to face New Zealand at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, on Saturday June 14, 0835 KO BST:

M Brown (Harlequins); M Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), L Burrell (Northampton Saints), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester), M Yarde (Harlequins); O Farrell (Saracens), D Care (Harlequins); J Marler (Harlequins), R Webber (Bath), D Wilson (Bath), J Launchbury (Wasps), G Parling (Leicester Tigers), T Wood (Northampton Saints), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Morgan (Gloucester).

Replacements: D Hartley (Northampton Saints), M Mullan (Wasps), K Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), B Vunipola (Saracens), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers), F Burns (Leicester Tigers), C Ashton (Saracens).


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