New Zealand v England: Manu Tuilagi role to be late call - Catt

New Zealand v England: Second Test

  • Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
  • Date: Saturday 14 June 2014
  • Kick-off: 08:35 BST

Coverage: Updates on BBC Sport website

England attack coach Mike Catt says this week's training sessions will go a long way to determining whether Manu Tuilagi starts on the wing in Saturday's second Test against the All Blacks in Dunedin.

Tuilagi started at outside centre in the 20-15 first Test defeat in Auckland alongside Bath's Kyle Eastmond. But with Billy Twelvetrees now fit and Luther Burrell and Brad Barrett available after arriving late in New Zealand from the Premiership final, England have six centres to chose from.

England's tour of New Zealand

7 June: 1st Test, Auckland - lost 20-15

14 June: 2nd Test, Dunedin

17 June: Tour game v Crusaders, Christchurch

21 June: 3rd Test, Hamilton

The embarrassment of riches has led to talk of Tuilagi - one of the squad's most potent attacking forces - moving out to the wing, but Catt insisted on Monday that no decision had yet been taken, and it would all be about choosing the best combination to beat the All Blacks.

"If it's right to put Manu on the wing we'll put him on the wing, but we've got a couple of training sessions over the next couple of days to make a decision, so nothing's set in stone, there are a lot of permutations.

"We've got six, seven centres to be put into two, so the players understand where we're at, and they've got to front up in these training sessions".

When pushed on the factors which would be taken into consideration, Catt said: "Do you want all your best players on the pitch at one time? Do you accommodate all of them? Is it what's right for the team? Is it what's best to build a combination? What sort of bench are you going to go for? In the future are they going to be considered there? There are a whole lot of permutations".

Meanwhile, Luke Cowan-Dickie is returning to England for further assessment on a knee injury.

The Exeter Chiefs hooker jarred his knee in training and head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "It's unfortunate for Luke. He has been great over the last three weeks and I am sure he will have benefitted from being involved in this environment.

"Unfortunately he has not been able to take a full part in training and it's the right thing for him to go back to Exeter and have further assessment.

England's previous results in New Zealand

Lawrence Dallaglio, Steve Thompson and Joe Wosley celebrate England's 15-13 win in New Zealand in 2003

21 June 2008: Lost 44-12 (Christchurch)

14 June 2008: Lost 37-20 (Auckland)

19 June 2004: Lost 36-12 (Auckland)

12 June 2004: Lost 36-3 (Dunedin)

14 June 2003: Won 15-13 (Wellington)

27 June 1998: Lost 40-10 (Auckland)

20 June 1998: Lost 64-22 (Dunedin)

8 June 1985: Lost 42-15 (Wellington)

1 June 1985: Lost 18-13 (Christchurch)

15 September 1973: Won 16-10 (Auckland)

1 June 1963: Lost 9-6 (Christchurch)

25 May 1963: Lost 21-11 (Auckland)

"We have four other hookers so we are well covered in that position and we will not be bringing anyone else out."

Meanwhile forwards Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood and Billy Vunipola are all available for selection after flying in last week.

Hartley started at hooker in all five of this year's Six Nations matches, but accepts that he can't expect to walk straight back into the team after an accomplished performance by Bath's Rob Webber at Eden Park last Saturday.

"It's all about the team," the Northampton club skipper insisted. "We play our best XV, take the field and if I can get a bench role that's cool as well. You know you add something to the team that way. It's the bigger picture".

Hartley was quick to dismiss criticism in one New Zealand newspaper that the England forwards were deliberately slowing the game down on Saturday by delaying getting to the line-outs. Hartley said the players huddled together before re-starts in order to make sure the calls were clearly understood.

"I don't know why we'd look to slow the game down when we're chasing the game, so it's probably more about clarity and trying to get the call right than slowing the game down. It wouldn't work in our favour, would it?"

Catt was even more dismissive: "I was unaware of it at the time. It's only someone's opinion."

England name their starting team and replacements bench on Thursday before flying from Auckland to Dunedin later that day.