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Jones' disappointing update on Mako


Jones: 'Mako definitely won't be ready for the start of RWC'

Eddie Jones has confirmed that Mako Vunipola will miss at least the first two of England’s World Cup pool matches with a recurrence of the hamstring injury he first suffered in the Heineken Cup final last May with Saracens.

However, head coach Jones is adamant the loosehead will be a key member of the squad and can still make a significant contribution – even though the earliest that is likely to be is the third pool match with Argentina on October 5 followed by the group finale versus France.

Confirmation that Vunipola will miss the early games with Tonga and the USA will leave Joe Marler as the first choice loosehead with Ellis Genge, a try scorer in Friday’s 37-0 win over Italy in Newcastle, providing cover off the bench. 

Injured in the August 24 rout of Ireland at Twickenham, the initial diagnosis on Vunipola was that a 10-day break would ensure he was ready for Japan. However, that situation has now been updated and his absence for the early weeks is a significant blow to the England cause.

Jones said: “Mako definitely won’t be ready for the start but we believe he will be ready for game three or four of the pool stage. 

“Mako is a very important player for us and we feel he is going to be ready to contribute in the World Cup. We are carrying two looseheads who are in great form, but we are confident that Mako will make a great contribution.

“Jack (Nowell) in the last couple of days has taken off and we have had to hold him back, but he should be right again around the same time as Mako.”

England lost Joe Launchbury and Luke Cowan-Dickie to injury against Italians in Newcastle, but Jones insisted they were not major worries and added that Kyle Sinckler was only taken off as a precaution. 

Launchbury has a back problem and will be monitored along with Cowan-Dickie before England depart on Sunday for Japan.

Jones insisted the win over Italy, which completed a four-match World Cup warm-up programme, was a worthwhile exercise although England had to wait until the second half to pull away from a combative Italian side that lacked a real cutting edge.

WATCH: The trailer for the new RugbyPass documentary featuring Tonga, England’s opponents in their World Cup campaign opener in Sapporo on September 22

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Jones: 'Mako definitely won't be ready for the start of RWC'
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