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Lancaster could stick with Tuilagi on the wing

England head coach Stuart Lancaster

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Article Published: Sunday 15 June 2014|

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England head coach Stuart Lancaster has not ruled out playing centre Manu Tuilagi on the wing again in the third Test against the All Blacks.

England lost the series when they fell 28-27 to New Zealand in the second Test but will know that having pushed the All Blacks to the edge in their backyard they are on the right track ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

The All Blacks followed up last week's 20-15 victory with the one point win and for 15 minutes of the second half they showed why they are world champions.

The match up of Tuilagi against Savea was predicted to be central to the outcome of the Test but in his most prominent move, a 60-metre dash just before halftime, Tuilagi was caught from behind by All Blacks fullback Ben Smith just short of the line and then turned over the ball.

A try would have put England ahead 15-3 but instead the All Blacks struck back with a penalty to close the gap to 10-6 at the break.

Savea came into his own when play resumed, as the All Blacks lifted their game to run in three quick tries to take control.

He put Smith in for the first try and scored the second as he constantly split a tiring England defence.

In the eagerly awaited match-up between the two behemoths the converted centre Tuilagi often looked out of place and coach Lancaster was non-committal about playing him there again in next weekend's third Test.

"We'll wait and see. We've got to assess the game," he said.

"We've also got a game on Tuesday night (against the Crusaders) so there's one or two players in that that we're going to have a look at in the backs as well so we're not going to make the decision until Wednesday next week."

After bumbling their way to a 20-15 win in the first Test and struggling in the first half of the second, the All Blacks finally found their A game in the third quarter.

The played with a pace and innovation that England could not match drawing praise from England backs coach Andy Farrell who said it showed why they are the world champions and the number on ranked side in the world.

"The speed of thought and speed of their game was outstanding and when you're playing at that pace to have core skills that are excellent as well allows them to keep their continuity in the game," he said.

 
 
 
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