England coach Stuart Lancaster considers return to midfield for Manu Tuilagi
Last Updated: 15/06/14 11:58pm
England head coach Stuart Lancaster looks set to make changes to his side for the final Test against New Zealand on Saturday.
Half-backs Owen Farrell and Danny Care and centre pairing Billy Twelvetrees and Luther Burrell all need to be assessed after picking up knocks in Saturday's 28-27 defeat to the All Blacks in Dunedin.
Freddie Burns – who played so well in the first Test – stands by to deputise for Farrell if the Saracens man is not fully fit, whilst Ben Youngs would be the most likely candidate to replace Harelquins star Care.
Bath’s Kyle Eastmond could come into the side in midfield, though Manu Tuilagi, who was deployed on the wing in Dunedin, could be restored to his more favoured role as an outside centre.
"Manu is certainly a very good option for us at 13 and I don't think he let anyone down at all on the wing," Lancaster said.
"I certainly think we need to make sure we have it as an option, there's no doubt about it.
"Manu playing on the right wing was certainly not the reason why we went through that period of 20 minutes when the All Blacks increased their intensity and pressure."
Lancaster believes his side have been unlucky to lose in both of the Tests they have played against New Zealand so far this tour.
"I don't feel deflated. I feel frustrated that we've not managed to get the win that a lot of our players deserved," he said.
"To win at the highest level against this team you've got to get your performance right for the full 80 minutes.
"We've shown that in a lot of areas, in the first Test definitely and for three quarters of the second Test, we are right there with them, going toe to toe with a side that's won 16 consecutive games.
"And we've played them away from home at the end of a long, hard season."
Full-back Mike Brown believes a win over the All Blacks in the final Test would be ideal preparation for next year’s World Cup on home soil.
“We're not going to start applauding failure," Brown said.
"We are in a business where winning counts and if we want to win a World Cup we have to beat teams like New Zealand.
"The final Test is another game that we want to win. We want to take some positives from this tour and that comes from winning a match.
"It would still be a big achievement to do it against the best team in the world on their home patch.
"We are judged on wins ultimately so we'll be going out with all guns blazing next Saturday to put this disappointment behind us as quickly as possible."
Watch the third Test between New Zealand and England live on Sky Sports 1, with coverage from 8.35 on Saturday morning.