England has moved to reduce the World Cup hype surrounding centre Manu Tuilagi, a 20-year-old newcomer to the Test arena, who has been compared with New Zealand great Jonah Lomu.
The Samoa-born Tuilagi has played only two Tests but is already touted as a player set for stardom; a demanding billing he will carry into England's first World Cup match against Argentina on Saturday.
England's backline coach, Australia-born Brian Smith, calls Tuilagi a "raw talent" and has called on everyone to give him a chance to find his feet in the Test arena before weighing him down with expectations.
Tuilagi is the youngest of seven brothers, five of whom have represented Samoa, and the latest of six to play for England's Leicester Tigers.
He made his test debut at Twickenham on August 6, scoring a try as England beat Wales 23-19 in a World Cup warm-up match.
"He's a big powerful centre, but he's got lovely hands as well and is a good off-loader," Smith said Monday.
"He's an outstanding talent, but it's a little too early to tell how far he'll go, and it's still early days - he has only played a couple of games for us.
"The most important thing for him is to keep his feet on the ground and get a level of consistency out of his performance."
Tuilagi moved to England from Samoa when he was 13, first for school and then to pursue a career in professional rugby. Named Manusamoa - the name of the Samoan national rugby team - he became the first Tuilagi brother to shun Samoa and to play for England.
Brother Alesana is a member of Samoa's World Cup squad.
"He comes from a very good background, and that's all he's known all his life," Smith said. "His older brothers, I guess when he was in nappies, were playing rugby league or union at a very high level. He's very grounded and is fortunate his cultural background means he's got a lot of support."
Tuilagi is likely to be paired in midfield with veteran Mike Tindall when England names its team Thursday to play Argentina. For all his talent and potential, it may be that England plays a conservative game which doesn't accentuate try-scoring.
"We want to win games, that's what we're about," Smith said. "We've got to play to the conditions to win those games.
"Over the last couple of seasons we've tried to expand the way we play. You always want to win and win magnificently, but sometimes you've just got to do what's enough to win the game."
England flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson has compared Tuilagi to New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams while others have drawn the Lomu comparison, based on his strength and line-breaking ability.
"It's great playing next to him," Tindall said. "If you're in any doubt just give him the ball. He's a physical specimen who can create anything from nothing."
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