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England pick Manu Tuilagi on bench for Italy as starting line-up unchanged from Wales

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: March 12, 2014

England pick Manu Tuilagi on bench for Italy as starting line-up unchanged from Wales

Manu Tuilagi has been called to the England substitutes for the potential Six Nations tournament clincher against Italy

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England named Manu Tuilagi on the bench to face Italy in Rome in Saturday's Six Nations match, signalling their intent to try and overhaul title rivals Ireland on points difference.

Tuilagi has played just 70 minutes for Leicester since his return from an injury that kept him out of action fro six months, but Graham Rowntree said he would be sued as a "wrecking ball" super-sub, able to cover wings and centre.

His naming, at the expense of full-back cover Alex Goode, was largely expected given England's need to work on the basis of Ireland defeating France in Paris, requiring England a target of a win in Rome by 49 points or more, though assistant coach Graham Rowntree denied this was the basis of the selection.

“We are going out there to win the game first," said Rowntree. "There are not many teams that go out to Italy and put a lot of points on them. We will win this game first.”

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And head coach Stuart Lancaster believes Tuilagi is ready for the Stadio Olimpico points grab.

“Manu trained well with us last week and is up to speed with the way we want to play,” Lancaster said.

“Alex has done well for us off the bench and is naturally disappointed, but we believe Manu, with the power and physicality he can bring, is the right choice to be included in the 23 for this game.”

While Goode’s demotion from the replacements bench is a tough call on the Saracens full-back, Lancaster deems it necessary to bring as much firepower to bear on Italy as possible.

If England win in Rome, the title will be decided by points difference with either Ireland or France – who clash in Paris – also competing for the crown.

England’s pack excelled once again against Wales and Sir Clive Woodward is among those to have described the forwards as world class, though Rowntree is far from such glowing terms.

“I know they have not played to the best of their ability yet. I know what more is to come from this group,” Rowntree said.

“I won’t have them having that label (world class), not yet. They have all got areas to improve on before we can go near calling them that."

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