Change of alliance for Manu Tuilagi

Eight years ago, Manu Tuilagi sat at home cheering on Samoa as they threatened to pull off the biggest upset of the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

Samoa led England at half-time in their pool clash and a 12-year-old Tuilagi, the youngest member of a rugby dynasty, was roaring on his countrymen.

The following year, Tuilagi made the life-changing move to join his brothers - four of whom are Samoa internationals - and live in Leicester.

After one sensational season with the Tigers, Tuilagi is now preparing to represent his adopted country at the World Cup after being named in England's final 30-man squad.

"I've never been to a World Cup before. I watched that game against England in 2003. I was in Samoa - cheering for Samoa!" said Tuilagi.

"Before the start of last season my target was just to get into the Leicester first team. I didn't really think I would have a chance with England until I got called into the training squad.

"I got a phone call last Monday and I just couldn't believe it, I was in the final squad.

"I rang my family straight away, back in Samoa. They were asleep at the time - it was four o'clock in the morning there, but they were very happy for me.

"They will definitely come over to watch me, because it's not far from Samoa to New Zealand.

"There will be a lot of Tuilagis out there - seven or eight, maybe even 10! I'm going to have to buy a lot of tickets."

Tuilagi made a try-scoring Test debut in England's victory over Wales at Twickenham earlier this month and he is pushing for a second start against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

England manager Martin Johnson will confirm his line-up tomorrow but Tuilagi, although normally considered an outside centre, could emerge as an option for England in the 12 jersey.

Shontayne Hape is the only specialist inside centre in England's final 30-man squad.

Tuilagi is as strong as England's props and his work ethic has impressed Johnson and the whole red rose management.

"I want to get a start," said Tuilagi.

"I just run hard at defenders and try to break them down. It is simple but it's effective really.

"I just have to keep training hard and hopefully get picked."

England were today waiting on the results of a scan on James Haskell's foot but the management did not suspect it to be anything serious.

Scrum coach Graham Rowntree described it as a "minor foot injury".

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments