Ben Youngs has welcomed the return of England’s game-breaker Manu Tuilagi and is itching to see him let loose on the All Blacks this weekend.
Tuilagi has not featured for England since the 2016 Six Nations and had to withdraw from the bench last weekend against the Springboks at the 11th hour after another injury setback.
But the Leicester Tigers and British & Irish Lions centre has been passed fit this week and is in contention for a spot in the 23 that welcome New Zealand to Twickenham on Saturday.
And Youngs – who started last weekend’s narrow win over the Boks at scrum-half – hopes his clubmate can make an impact this weekend.
“You need game-breakers don’t you? You know against New Zealand you’re going to have score tries, simply trying to slot penalties probably isn’t going to be enough because of the threat they pose,” said Youngs.
“So having guys like him and other guys is vital because you need guys that are going to be game changers or game-breakers and he’s certainly one of those guys, so he’s going to be important if he’s involved.
“He’s looking good in training but I don’t make those decisions if he plays or not, I just know what he’s capable of and I’m sure if he’s given the opportunity that he would be able to certainly give us a lot of go-forward and be a key cog to this team.”
England will unveil their team to take on the reigning world champions at midday on Thursday.
But England have beaten the All Blacks before, most recently in 2012, while a number of Eddie Jones’ squad were part of the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour that emerged with a series draw.
HISTORY IN THE RE-MAKING
Youngs missed the 2017 Tour to New Zealand but was part of the England side under Stuart Lancaster that downed the world champions six years ago.
“Our belief is very good,” he added.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity and I’m very excited and I know that my team-mates echo that as well. We’re looking forward to being at Twickenham and we’re in a good place.
“I think it’s important to recognise that there’s a reason they’ve been so dominant for years.
“They’re highly successful, you can’t hide away from that but it’s important you really focus on what we can do.
“We don’t want to get lost in what they do and how they play and everything like that.
“We want to make sure that we give the best account of ourselves and how that is, is making sure we get our game-plan clarity absolute right and then we’re able to execute on Saturday.”