England 'cautiously optimistic' over Tuilagi fitness ahead of New Zealand clash

  • England 'cautiously optimistic' over Tuilagi fitness ahead of New Zealand clash

England 'cautiously optimistic' over Tuilagi fitness ahead of New Zealand clash

"We won't risk him, he's either 100 per cent fit or he's not".

He had been in line for a first worldwide appearance in two years against South Africa last weekend but was forced to withdraw before England's 12-11 victory.

'We know what a world-class operator Manu is, ' Youngs told Sky Sports.

"Seeing him in your team settles the boys down knowing he is there".

In an incredible match Tuilagi's devastating running earned him a try and set up two more, but that day was to prove the high water mark of his and Lancaster's careers to date. I'm really please he's able to get back out there.

"We don't know how long he'll be out for, but he won't be back for our next three tests", forwards coach Steve Borthwick said on Tuesday.

Two years ago the world was desperate to see the two top-ranked teams meet but since England's slide into five successive defeats it is next week's Ireland versus New Zealand encounter that pits numbers one and two against each other.

Courtney Lawes, who missed the win over South Africa along with Tuilagi, is also included in Eddie Jones' squad.

Chris Ashton has revealed that it was clear when speaking to All Black Malakai Fekitoa during his season at Toulon that 'he literally didn't know what the Premiership was. England are well versed in what to expect, however. You know against New Zealand you're going to have to score tries, simply trying to slot penalties probably isn't going to be enough because of the threat they pose. And Youngs says there is a strong belief in the squad that they could replicate a similar sort of performance.

"You need guys that are going to be game-breakers and Manu's certainly one of those guys".

"We have got [Sam] Underhill or [Mark] Wilson that can play No 7 and there is an opportunity for [Zach] Mercer to play No 8".