England tour of South Africa
Lancaster hints at Tuilagi switch to the wing
June 12, 2012
Manu Tuilagi could play on the wing on Saturday © PA Photos
With Mike Brown forced out of the tour with a broken finger and Brad Barritt also sidelined for the second Test due to a lacerated eyeball, Lancaster will have to re-jig the backline ahead of Saturday's match in Johannesburg. Alex Goode starts for England at fullback tomorrow against the SA Barbarians with David Strettle handed a spot on the wing so they will look to state their claim for a spot in the Test side.
But with press reports suggesting that Jonathan Joseph is likely to be handed his first Test start alongside Tuilagi in the centres on Saturday, Lancaster has admitted that they are still surveying their options with shifting Tuilagi to the wing one possibility.
"Manu predominantly played his age-grade rugby on the wing," Lancaster said. "So there is that but I am trying to find people to fit roles and I think 13 is still an area we need to look at.
"I have said all along you have got to make sure you have different options in different positions. We have still got some decisions to make but it is an honest group and we have worked hard as a team and in units to identify the areas that we need to work on. Everyone takes responsibility for it."
England are already 1-0 down in the three-Test series and Lancaster has been forced to defend the choice to play two midweek matches while on tour. Some have suggested that playing a match with a completely different XV to the Test side is unnecessary but Lancaster has come out fighting over the two games.
"I think the pros of doing it outweigh the cons," Lancaster said. "There is an element where Wednesday would be a day off in a Test week and they are going to be travelling to Kimberley to support the midweek boys, but we think that is important as well.
"I think on balance we would have still preferred to have the midweek games, because it allows us to look at a wider group of players and coach them and work with them, on this particular type of tour. I think it is something I would like to do in future tours.
"The challenge is to make sure we, as coaches, get the balance right and our attention is directed in the right place at the right time."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.