Billy Vunipola has broken an arm for the third time in 10 months and will have surgery tomorrow forcing him out of the game for another 12 weeks and removing him from England’s armoury for the November tests.
However, he has now broken his left arm in the torrid battle with Glasgow Warriors yesterday leaving both Saracens and England desperately short of ball carrying power. Vunipola has now suffered a similar run of bad luck to Renaldo Bothma, the Harlequins and Namibia No8, who broke his arm three times last season but is now back playing regularly.
Eddie Jones, the England head coach, has a real problem at No.8 with Vunipola ruled out and Wasps’ Nathan Hughes set to receive a long ban this week. That could see Gloucester’s Ben Morgan return from test exile and he delivered a big performance in front of Jones yesterday in the Champions Cup.
Bath’s Zach Mercer is another option at No8 but he does not have the bulk Morgan offers and that will be crucial for the tests with South Africa (Nov 3), New Zealand (Nov 10), Japan (Nov 17) and Australia (Nov 24). Before falling out of favour, Morgan was a dynamic ball carrying powerhouse for England but the last of his 31 caps came three years ago.
Vunipola was joined on the side lines by brother Mako whose calf injury is still being assessed but he could also miss the November tests.
Sarries Lock Nick Isiekwe is also a doubt with a specialist set to determine how long his ankle will take to heal and if surgery is going to be needed to get him back into action.
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