Lancaster: Tuilagi a threat at 12

PA Sport
Manu Tuilagi will start at inside centre for England's second Test against South Africa

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Manu Tuilagi will start at inside centre for England's second Test against South Africa

England head coach Stuart Lancaster does not believe he is compromising powerful centre Manu Tuilagi's effectiveness by moving him inside.

Lancaster has shifted the Samoa-born three-quarter from outside centre to 12 for Saturday's second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg. The move was not unexpected with Brad Barritt injured and Jonathan Joseph earning his anticipated full debut at 13, but Tuilagi will have to adapt quickly to different responsibilities to help England level the series.

Lancaster said: "He hasn't played all of his rugby there by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly we're confident in the work we've done and his understanding of the game. In the centre partnership, when he played at 13 he would often end up carrying the ball in that 12 channel, so we're comfortable with what Manu's rugby pedigree gives him and what he can offer the team."

Tuilagi's move is one of five changes, both positional and in terms of personnel, that Lancaster has made for the clash at Johannesburg's Coca-Cola Park.

Ben Foden reverts from wing to full-back following injury to Mike Brown with David Strettle taking his place on the left flank.

Joseph takes the place of another injury victim, Barritt, on the teamsheet while the one unforced change sees Toby Flood replace Owen Farrell at fly-half.

Farrell kicked four penalties in the 22-17 loss in the first Test in Durban but otherwise endured a frustrating evening. He drops to the bench but Lancaster has been pleased with how the 20-year-old has responded to the disappointment.

He said: "He took the news in exactly the way I hoped he would, in an extremely professional way.

"He has trained fantastically well since and has been an example to me of how a player should treat a disappointment and how they should respond, so credit to him for that.

"But the reality is that we have not dropped him from the 22 so there is a very good chance he will play a big part as game goes on."

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