Billy Vunipola confident of being fit for England’s World Cup quarter-final

The Guardian Sports 1 month ago

Billy Vunipola is confident of being fit for England’s World Cup quarter-final next Saturday despite suffering a twisted ankle against Argentina seven. Vunipola would not have been risked by Eddie Jones had their match against France gone ahead but while he was unable to take a full part in a high-octane training session in Miyazaki on Saturday, the No 8 is optimistic he will feature in England’s first World Cup knock-out match since 2011.

Neither Vunipola nor Jack Nowell, who has a hamstring injury, were involved in what was a full-tilt session as England’s players released their frustrations at being unable to play.

The cancellation means England have topped their pool and provided Wales overcome Uruguay on Sunday, Jones’s side will meet Australia in the last eight.

Mako Vunipola is also expected to make his first start since May, having returned from the hamstring injury he re-injured in a brief appearance off the bench against Ireland in August.

Mako said: “Billy is good. He trained a bit today. He did a bit of hopping yesterday and today he did a bit more. Maybe a bit of running.

“He’s in good spirits and confident he’ll be available for selection, which is good for him. He’s done all his bits with icing and he’s under good care with the physios.”

Steve Borthwick, the assistant England coach, also delivered a positive bulletin on Billy Vunipola, saying the player will be given every chance to prove his fitness at Wednesday’s decisive training session before Jones names his side on Thursday to face the Wallabies.

“As with all players you have to ensure they are fully fit and ready to play Test match rugby,” said Borthwick. “We’re working towards when the team is announced and those players are working towards that progression and are looking really good. Our medical team is superb so they’ll be in very good shape.”

England opened the training session in the scorching heat to hundreds of local residents as well as a few Wales fans, who took the opportunity to drape their national flag in plain sight of their historic rivals.

“I saw the Welsh flag,” Mako said. “It was nice of them to come to support us training.”

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