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Ollie Lawrence and Manu Tuilagi backed to 'kick the door down'

By PA
England's Ollie Lawrence (left) and Manu Tuilagi (Photo by Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP via Getty Images)

Kevin Sinfield has insisted that Ollie Lawrence and Manu Tuilagi are “ready to kick the door down” if England beef up their backline for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland.

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The hard running centres are available for the first time in the 2024 Guinness Six Nations having recovered from the respective groin and hip injuries that forced them to miss the opening two rounds.

Head coach Steve Borthwick must decide whether to break up the midfield partnership of Fraser Dingwall and Henry Slade that started the wins against Italy and Wales or add more ball-carrying clout to the backline.

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“Ollie and Manu bring power,” said assistant coach Sinfield ahead of the trip to Murrayfield. “Fraser and Henry offer a bit more ball movement and a bit more finesse at the line but what Manu and Ollie bring is they will kick the door down.

“It’s about trying to find the right balance for us this weekend. Ollie and Manu haven’t been in with us that long but we know them pretty well from the World Cup and what they have done previously.

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“Then there is the experience of Henry and Fraser’s ball skills and games management in and around that midfield, so we have got a real healthy competition there.”

Borthwick will make at least one enforced change when he names his team on Thursday afternoon after scrum-half Alex Mitchell was ruled out by a knee injury sustained in training. Mitchell was due to see a specialist on Tuesday when a date for his return will be set.

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It clears the path for 37-year-old veteran Danny Care to win his 99th cap as a starter in Edinburgh on Saturday if he holds off the challenge of Ben Spencer, who is likely to feature on the bench.

“Danny has had a great career and I have loved working with him. He looks after himself really well and to still be playing at 37, you’ve got to be doing that early in your career,” reckoned Sinfield.

“We all know the type of professional that he is and the experience he has. You can’t measure how valuable experience is because it gives confidence, belief and trust to those around him.

“He is really good around the group because of his personality. He has always got a smile on his face.

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“He understands people really well and he gets the best out of those around him. It would be awesome if he can get to 100 caps.”

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