McGeechan: England can sneak win against All Blacks
March 16, 2014
Sir Ian McGeechan believes Manu Tuilagi could play on the wing © Getty Images
Sir Ian McGeechan believes England can go to New Zealand on their summer tour full of confidence and pick up a win.
England finished the 2014 Six Nations in second and ended the campaign with a resounding thumping of Italy in Rome. The next time England play will be on New Zealand soil as they embark on a three-Test tour in June.
Due to the scheduling of the Aviva Premiership final, Stuart Lancaster will opt against players who turn out in that match for their first Test in New Zealand but McGeechan feels England can grab a win off the All Blacks.
"They are definitely a better side than they were in the autumn and I think that they can go to New Zealand with confidence this summer," McGeechan wrote in his column for the Sunday Telegraph. "Of course, it is crazy that they cannot field a full-strength side in the first Test because of the Aviva Premiership final the weekend before. But I do think that they could sneak one of the other two Tests they play against the All Blacks.
"And what a massive statement it would be were they to do that. This season has been the first time they have won the Triple Crown since 2003 and back then England went to New Zealand and Australia before winning the World Cup and won in Wellington and Melbourne.
"So if they went to New Zealand now and won, with over a year to go and with their game only likely to go upwards and develop further, it might be even more impressive than then."
One of the dilemmas Lancaster faces is how to fit Manu Tuilagi into the England backline. Throughout the Six Nations Luther Burrell and Billy Twelvetrees were the duo picked in the centres and though Tuilagi came off the bench for the former on Saturday, McGeechan sees Tuilagi's future on the wing.
"Manu Tuilagi came off the bench to score and that raises some interesting questions going forward. If he is to play at centre, I think it would have to be at 12 but that would change the dynamic of England's play considerably, as it would if Burrell went to 12 and Tuilagi at 13 because both are very different players from Twelvetrees.
"There is the option of playing Tuilagi on the wing, and I could see that happening. With all the ball carriers England already have in Lawes, Burrell, and both Mako and Billy Vunipola [or Morgan], imagine having Tuilagi in the backfield running off one of their shoulders or take a ball up that they can run off."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
The Hurricanes have produced a blistering second-half performance to record a commanding 36-12 victory over Melbourne Rebels in Wellington
Lewis Hamilton appears to be the first victim of the FIA's controversial helmet ban after being blocked from wearing a novelty lid in Malaysia
Wayne Rooney says his switch to a central striking role at Manchester United has been crucial to the club's return to form
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in the second practice session despite car problems limiting his track time over the 90 minutes
Wayne Rooney has urged England fans and his country's media not to put too much pressure on Tottenham striker Harry Kane
Fallout continues from the NSW-Brumbies derby, with one Tahs forward - not Potgieter - surprised by other unsavoury comments during the game, Greg Growden reports
Greg Growden previews Super Rugby round 7. We've also got key stats, team news and all the line-ups to inform your ESPN Footytips Super Rugby picks
Will Mercedes dominate again? Can anybody catch up with the help of a rainstorm? And will the Red Bull/Renault relationship tear itself apart? All those questions and more will be answered at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix
Maurice Hamilton pieces together what we know from the Fernando Alonso crash and explains why the latest answers raise more questions
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Tiger Woods is confident of recovering from a poor run of form to qualify for the US Ryder Cup team in 2016, according to captain Davis Love III
Jonas Gutierrez has told Canal+ he will never forgive Newcastle for the way the club treated him during his battle with cancer, but wants to stay at St James' Park beyond this summer
Lionel Messi earned more than €1 million (£740,000) a week last year to make him the world's highest-paid player and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was the best-paid coach, according to a new survey
Andy Murray has expressed fears that his game will regress without full-time coaching in a candid exchange with a fellow Twitter user as he prepares to add former world No.4 Jonas Bjorkman to his coaching team
Luis Suarez has laughed off the idea that the Barcelona players have set out to help Lionel Messi beat Cristiano Ronaldo to La Liga's top scorer award
Unbeaten heavyweight Dillian Whyte, 28, (14-0, 11 KOs) tells ESPN where his rivalry with Anthony Joshua stems from and outlines the plan for his career this year after returning from a doping ban in November
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
Who was the first Briton to win the British Grand Prix?
Where does Anthony Davidson's record of 24 Grands Prix without a point rank him?
How many F1 drivers have had one win, but done it at their home Grand Prix?