Manu Tuilagi: ‘You’ve got to have the mindset of imposing our game on them’

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After playing a leading role in their last two wins over New Zealand the England centre plots more chaos against the All Blacks

Many things stick in the mind from England’s last Twickenham victory against New Zealand, in 2012, but the common denominator in all of them is Manu Tuilagi. The flicked offload for Brad Barritt’s try, the thundering burst, bouncing off Dan Carter and Richie McCaw, to set up Chris Ashton or picking off Kieran Read’s pass for his intercept try – Tuilagi was a force of nature that afternoon. Maybe the most memorable aspect, though, is the enormous grin on his face just as the All Blacks have completed the haka; the simple, undiluted joy from what he has just witnessed, of what he is about to do. A moment of serenity before unleashing his unique brand of chaos.

Ten years on, sitting in England’s lavish hotel in leafy Surrey, Tuilagi is shown the highlights of that match. He has seen them plenty of times before – it is, after all, England’s biggest win against New Zealand – but he cannot help but laugh. He is too bashful to do anything but stay silent when watching his own try but the way he chuckles when seeing Barritt and Ashton score shows that the joy is undiminished. “One of the best games that I was involved in. I love seeing it.” It is astonishing to think that match was 10 years ago, equally that Tuilagi was only 21 but it was already his 17th cap. “I was so young back then,” he recalls; but, he adds: “I remember it like it was yesterday.”

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Written by Gerard Meagher
This news first appeared on under the title “Manu Tuilagi: ‘You’ve got to have the mindset of imposing our game on them’”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.