Manu Tuilagi (left) and Henry Slade playing for England in the Six Nations against Wales in February
2019 Rugby World Cup
Hosts: Japan Dates: 20 September – 2 November
Coverage: Full commentary on every game across BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

Centre Henry Slade says his bond with midfield partner Manu Tuilagi can fire England to World Cup success.

Slade is fit to start if selected against Tonga in the Sapporo Dome on Sunday, with coach Eddie Jones due to announce his team on Friday.

“Manu is so good to play with – the way we can use him to get is over the gain-line or to run decoy lines is a massive weapon,” Slade said.

“It gives me a lot of time to play out of the back of that and elsewhere.”

He added: “We have very different strengths and really different weaknesses, and I think we complement each other and cover up each other’s weaknesses.”

Jones used Slade and Tuilagi together throughout the Six Nations outside Owen Farrell at fly-half, having earlier in his regime preferred to use George Ford at 10 and Farrell at inside-centre.

And Slade says his on-field understanding with the 28-year-old Tuilagi has been boosted by how much the two enjoy each other’s company off the pitch.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “We’ve always got on really well ever since we’ve known each other.

“We were in camps together for a few years but never really regularly – he was always fit when I was injured or I was fit and he was injured.

“But we’ve always got on. I went on holiday to Dubai after the Six Nations – I was out there with Jack Nowell and Ellis Genge, and Manu was out there with his wife and kid, so we have a few days with him.

“I feel like I get on really well with him, and that bond off the pitch does play a big role on it.

“It can take time learning to play with each other, but he and I have managed to pick it up pretty quick.

“Manu’s in very good shape. He’s got through the whole of this pre-season, which has been tough, a real grind, but very good.

“He looks like he’s hungry to do well. I’m excited to see what he does.”

Read more: