Mako Vunipola today admitted he was gutted to be banned by England’s medical staff from facing Wales at Twickenham.

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Vunipola travelled to visit a sick relative in Tonga with brother Billy and their route took them twice through Hong Kong International airport raising the risk of possible contact with coronavirus.

Vunipola has not shown any signs of being ill and his club Saracens were happy to play him in today’s 24-1 win over Leicester and the prop lasted 64 minutes. The England medical staff decided the risk of infecting his teammates was too great and said he couldn’t be considered for the Wales test match.

Vunipola said: “Eddie messaged me about it and apologised for the medical stuff and I understand it. The rest of the Six Nations is a bit up in the air.

“We were in Hong Kong on the way there and the way back for about three hours each time. I didn’t excpect what happened but I can understand it and if I thought about my travel more I may have gone a different route to Tonga.

“It is what it is and I understand why England did it and I can’t really change their mind. I was a bit gutted when they told me and the boys did a good job against Ireland and it would have been hard to get into the team anyway. I love to play for my country and I was lucky the club let me come back in.

“It was a bit hard to get my head around it and they made the call and didn’t want to risk anything. I was disappointed because you want to play but I had to understand the situation they were in and for me it was nice to be able to play for the club and get out there. “

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Vunipola has been sent pictures of people wearing surgical masks by teammates and faced banter on the pitch as he helped Saracens defeat Leicester. He added: “There has been a bit of stick from the boys and it is a bit scary. The doctors cleared me to play and there was a bit of chat on the pitch today and either you laugh or cry and as rugby players you just get on with it.”

WATCH: England head coach Eddie Jones and captain Owen Farrell look ahead to Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Wales.

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