By James Lloyd
Manu Tuilagi can take his game to the next level under the guidance of Geordan Murphy if Leicester start utilising his skills to the max and stop making him ‘run into brick walls’.
Tuilagi has 26 Red Rose caps, but has not featured for England since facing Wales in 2016 after suffering a catalogue of injuries.
Tuilagi is now back fit and firing and Tigers fly-half George Ford reckons the hulking centre can become the centre of attention once again in a new-look Tigers side under Murphy.
Tuilagi scored a try as Leicester thrashed Newcastle in interim head coach Murphy’s first game in charge and Ford knows there is much to come from the man who destroyed New Zealand back in 2012.
“We’ve probably been doing Manu a disservice in the way we’ve been telling him to play,” Ford told The Rugby Paper.
“We’ve been telling him to run into brick walls, but there’s more to his game than that.
“If you want to get the best out of Manu who is one of the most powerful line runners in the world, and one of the most difficult to tackle, you’ve got to put him in space and put him in one-on-one situations.
“You can even put him through holes in defence so he can attack soft shoulders. He’s unstoppable when that happens.
“It’s about simplifying things and running straighter so we can hold guys up so Manu gets that gap or half a hole. He’s pretty lethal when we get that right.”
Tuilagi remains a fearsome prospect when fit but is part of a Leicester side going through a tumultuous period following the dismissal of head coach Matt O’Connor.
Former Ireland full-back Murphy has taken charge and Ford insists he has already made a positive impact.
He said: “I can’t speak highly enough of Geordan. If there’s ever a man to follow it’s him because he’s a massive club man.
“The respect he’s got from the boys is through the roof and he’s helped us simplify things in training. It has put a bit more clarity into the lads.
“It’s only a start, but we are looking a bit more threatening.”
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