England considering a brand-new midfield combination for Tuilagi

Steve Borthwick has hinted that a brand-new midfield combination could be unleashed by England.

Manu Tuilagi has had numerous partners at centre during his decade-plus involvement at Test level, but he has yet to play alongside Ollie Lawrence.

Both were included in the 33-strong squad named on Monday for next month’s Rugby World Cup in France and Borthwick has suggested the Tuilagi-Lawrence combination is something he would consider as he believes it’s a partnership that could work.

Lawrence has made eight starts in his 11-cap career, seven of those run-on appearances coming with Henry Slade as his midfield partner.

Three of those matches were in last spring’s Guinness Six Nations. However, with Slade now axed from the England squad, the way is open for Lawrence and the 51-cap Tuilagi to potentially get a run together ahead of the World Cup which starts on September 9 versus Argentina in Marseille.

“I think they can play together, with Manu at 12 and Ollie Lawrence at 13,” reckoned Borthwick when asked about the potential World Cup make-up of his midfield with Slade no longer an option.