Sale powerhouse Tuilagi has inched back towards England’s Test team, in his latest fight to shrug off years of injury strife.
Head coach Eddie Jones and attack specialist Martin Gleeson have spent months planning and plotting England’s latest creative blueprint.
All that will come under pressure in Sunday’s Autumn Nations Series opener against Argentina at Twickenham.
And former Rugby League star Gleeson revealed England hope their dual-playmaker system can create opportunities for line breaks with greater subtlety than simply crashing into traffic.
“You don’t want to just give it to the big fella to run into a brick wall and hope he comes through the other side,” said Gleeson. “That would be a bit rubbish, wouldn’t it?
“You want to get him in a one-on-one, between defenders, not just go ‘here you go Manu’. If you get your lines right and have someone like Manu hitting a hole, it’s even better.”
England will stick to their twin playmaker set-up whatever the rejigging of personnel within Sunday’s match, with Exeter’s Henry Slade adding an extra creative option.
Props Kyle Sinckler and Ellis Genge have slipped into greater attacking sync than ever before, given the pair now link up week to week at Bristol.
The ball-carrying front-rowers also know just how to create space with an impressive range of passing, leaving attack coach Gleeson majorly enthused by the talent at his disposal.
Gleeson wants England to create as many as five different options for attacking possibilities at the gain-line, at which point the extra game-breaking abilities of his front-rowers come squarely into play.
“We set out in the summer with the forwards something we’d not done previously,” said Gleeson. “Now we want to take that to the next level.
“We don’t want to be a team that sends just one guy up to the line. We want to get three, four, five options all at the line. It’s a lot of bodies in motion, at the line with multiple options. Then it’s up to the playmakers to pick the right options.”