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The confusing Mako Vunipola fallout

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The confusing Mako Vunipola fallout: RFU accused of overreacting, Saracens under fire for their response

It seemed like a reasonable decision by England this week to leave Mako Vunipola out of their Guinness Six Nations squad to face Wales this weekend amid the global coronavirus outbreak. 

That was until Saracens announced on Wednesday that the loosehead is in contention to play for them this Saturday in the Gallagher Premiership against Leicester Tigers. 

The prop was reported to be in self-isolation this week after travelling through Hong Kong on the way back from Tonga, but he has been training with his club. Confusion has since ensued as no one can really make sense of the matter and no one can make out who is in the right in this situation. 

Saracens have addressed the issue, which helps explain their thought process. This is what they said in their statement: “Billy Vunipola and Mako Vunipola returned to Saracens after visiting family in Tonga which included a short stop at Hong Kong airport.

“Travellers returning from Hong Kong are not currently subject to mandatory quarantine or self-isolation unless they become symptomatic. Neither Billy or Mako have displayed symptoms of the coronavirus (covid-19) and on their return to London were assessed by the club’s medical staff.

(Continue reading below…)

The Breakdown looks back on the Super Rugby action from the weekend just gone

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“The duo have been around the Saracens environment for the past couple of days, with the latter available for selection this weekend. Saracens will continue to follow the Public Health England and World Health Organisation regulations surrounding coronavirus and the medical staff will be closely monitoring Billy and Mako on a regular basis.”

The English champions have received the backing of many fans, who think that they have been reasonable in this circumstance as the 29-year-old has shown no symptoms of the virus and should be free to play. Equally, England have been commended by some for being cautious in this situation and excluding Vunipola from their plans.

Conversely, the Rugby Football Union have been accused of overreacting while Saracens have come under fire for perhaps ignoring rules set out. Either way, this is a bizarre stalemate that neither party would have wanted. 

What is clear is that England and Saracens cannot have completely different reactions to these circumstances without raising more questions as to who is being more sensible. 

WATCH: RugbyPass goes behind the scenes at Tonga prepare for the 2019 World Cup in Japan 

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The confusing Mako Vunipola fallout: RFU accused of overreacting, Saracens under fire for their response
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