Eddie Jones has shocked everyone by starting powerhouse centre Manu Tuilagi on the wing in his England team to play Australia at Twickenham this weekend.
The great rugby statistician Stuart Farmer reliably informed us that Tuilagi played on the wing four times for Leicester, the last in November 2010. He’s good to go then.
‘I have seen Manu play on the wing and he can handle 12, 13, 11, 14 – he can handle all of those with aplomb,” Jones said.
“I see a powerful player who’s probably in the best condition of his career, who will add to the ball players we’ve got inside and will finish off the movements that we have. He’ll be able to roam on the field, play like a second or third centre.
“Last season Gael Fickou played on the wing for France and was outstanding. The game lends itself to a powerhouse centre so we’re looking forward to him playing there.”
However, the worst thing about this shock position switch is that it’s quite normal compared to some others teased by Jones in the past:
#1. Ben Curry (Flanker to scrum-half)
An outrageous report back in January 2020 suggested that he was considering moving the Sale flanker to play at scrum-half. I thought either Jones had enjoyed way too much sherry over Christmas with his mince pies, or he has gone completely mad.