One of the rarest sights to be seen in international rugby is England’s Billy Vunipola being driven back in the tackle.
The No8 is one of the most solid ball carriers in the game, renowned for his ability to make ground from any position. But that was not the case when he ran into Tonga’s Zane Kapeli on Sunday.
The Saracens forward was smashed in an almighty collision, which is already a contender for the hit of the World Cup only a matter of days into the tournament.
After the match, which England won 35-3, Vunipola took to Instagram and said: “Lungs were tested as was my ability to take a hit.”
There were a few sore bodies in the England camp after the game, as Tonga are famed for being one of the most physical teams to face. Vunipola can now attest to that.
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In light of that, Eddie Jones will be pleased that his team came away from the game relatively unscathed. Despite feeling the full force of the Tongan defence, Vunipola still made 12 carries in the match as England eased their way into the tournament. Jones’ side were certainly not at their best but managed to earn a bonus-point victory nonetheless.
England face the USA on Thursday at the Kobe Misaki Stadium, and with such a quick turnaround between matches, there have been many changes. However, the likes of Vunipola have not been rested ahead of the pivotal matches against Argentina and France towards the end of the pool stage.
WATCH: Eddie Jones and George Ford after England name their side to face the USA
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