Billy Vunipola appears increasingly unlikely to play any part in England’s final World Cup group game against France after being spotted on Tuesday outside his team’s hotel wearing an ankle boot to protect the injury.
Vunipola injured his left ankle in Saturday’s bonus-point victory over Argentina and after repeatedly receiving treatment on the pitch, was withdrawn at half-time and has undergone a scan.
While refusing to rule him out of the climax to Pool C against France, attack coach Scott Wisemantel revealed that the Saracens number eight has been doing recovery and rehabilitation work instead of training with the rest of Eddie Jones’ squad.
Having already qualified for the quarter-finals, England are able to make a number of changes knowing Saturday’s clash in Yokohama decides only who finishes top of Pool C.
Vunipola, the team’s most potent forward ball carrier, is the only player to have started all 12 of this year’s Tests and his value to Jones means his fitness will not be gambled on.
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“We’re being overly cautious. If there’s any risk he will not be 100 per cent he won’t play, but I don’t know the outcome of the scan. If there’s any risk, we won’t risk him,” Wisemantel said.
“Billy does suck in lots of defenders and he’s a great carrier for us, but those other guys carry the ball differently because of the lines they pick. They are a bit more subtle about where they pop up.
“We’re blessed with some of the back rows that we have got, but we’re very confident they’ll carry us on to the front foot.”
– Press Association
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