All Blacks will not face wrecking ball Tuilagi
Manu Tuilagi, the Samoan born English midfielder who at his peak has been one of the most destructive backs in the game, has been ruled out of the Red Rose’s autumn campaign with a groin injury.
The absence of the 24-Test centre will be welcome news for the World Champions, who struggled to contain the 112kg powerhouse two years ago.
Tuilagi scored a try when England defeated the All Blacks 38-21 in 2012 when intercepting a pass of Kieran Read, while he played assisting roles in scores to Brad Barritt and Chris Ashton.
The midfielder’s club, the Leicester Tigers, confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that Tuilagi had injured his groin during the team’s 25-18 win over Ulster.
With England coach Stuart Lancaster due to name an updated 33 player Elite Playing Squad on Wednesday (GMT), the selection panel will likely look to the Premiership, which has opened with some fantastic contests so far, for centre reinforcements.
Late news suggest that Bath back and league convert Kyle Eastmond has cleared late fitness tests and will be available for selection, and his in-form partner at the Somerset based club Jonathan Joseph is expected to get an international call up.
Brad Barritt and Luther Burrell are other candidates to wear the 12 and 13 jerseys for the English.
Tigers Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill told Sky Sports in the UK that he believed Tuilagi needed at least four weeks and should not be rushed back into action, with Leicester preparing to play Llanelli in the new Champions Cup this weekend.
England, who welcome the All Blacks to Twickenham on November 8 to commence their series, also host the Springboks, Samoa and the Wallabies.
It will be the second match of the MyRepublic Northern Tour, which opens a week earlier with New Zealand playing USA in Chicago.