Other than the last year, Manu has been in and out of the team due to injury. So when he went down playing for Sale the other month, straight away Eddie would have been thinking about his options.
Having watched Italy last weekend against Ireland, they basically ran out of steam around 50, 60 minutes and Ireland pulled away.
So, if Eddie is thinking about moving the ball quickly, spreading it left and right, you have almost the perfect combination of Farrell and Slade to do that effectively.
It’s a blow not to have Manu but if needs be off line-outs, Billy and Mako Vunipola can drop into the backline as battering rams.
Manu is Manu, he is pretty unique, but I think in the second half Ollie Lawrence will come on, so we can see if he can play a similar sort of role.
I would expect fireworks from him. I saw him live recently and he looked like he was operating on a different level to everyone else when it came to power and pace.
He was running really direct lines and I saw him score a couple of tries running short lines off the scrum-half, going through untouched or taking a couple of tacklers with him.
If you are looking at someone who can fill Manu’s void, he definitely is that. International defences will be a lot tougher, and there will be sterner tests to come, but this is a game where England can blood him early.
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