England and Lions prop Mako Vunipola has become the latest high profile player to commit his future to Saracens ahead of their 2020/21 demotion to the Championship for repeated breaches of the Gallagher Premiership salary cap.

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A slew of players have already signed up for second-tier duty, Jamie George doing so as recently as just last Friday. Now his England and Lions colleague Vunipola – winner of the RugbyPass FIFA 20 players charity tournament – has decided to do likewise, the 29-year-old agreeing to continue his nine-year journey with the London club.

“This club has been very good to me and are very good to me,” said the prop who has made 168 Saracens appearances to date and is relishing the challenges that lie ahead in a rugby restart that will see the club fulfil the last nine of its remaining Premiership fixtures – starting at Bristol on August 15 – and a European quarter-final away to Leinster.

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England and Saracens No8 Billy Vunipola guests on The Lockdown, the RugbyPass pandemic interview series

“They have looked after me, given me the opportunity to be the player that I’ve been and given me the platform to keep improving. I have no doubt the club will be back and fighting for championships and that is part of the reason why this decision was quite easy.

“It wasn’t all too difficult for me as I could see the group we had and the strength of the club. I’ve no doubt we will attack this challenge as we have done with the other challenges we have had before.”

Having earned six British and Irish Lions Test series caps as a Saracens player, the influential prop will now hope his decision to stay at the club in the Championship won’t hinder his chances of 2021 tour selection. Saracens boss Mark McCall added: “Mako is a world-class player who is able to combine an innate understanding of the game with brutal physicality and an incredible skill set.

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“The Vunipola family are an integral part of the Saracens story; Mako is a hugely respected member of the squad who shows genuine care for his teammates. We are delighted he has committed his future here.”

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