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Vunipola given England return date

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Mako Vunipola's return date set, but England sweat on McConnochie

Mako Vunipola is expected to soon be back in an England shirt following his injury lay-off since Saracens’ Champions Cup final win over Leinster last May.

The loosehead prop is poised to make his comeback from a significant hamstring injury sustained at the back end of last season in Newcastle.

“Mako did a bit of extra work at the end of training on Friday, a bit of contact work. A bit of defence work. He should get some time next weekend against Ireland,” said Eddie Jones.

The England boss also revealed Ruaridh McConnochie is a late doubt for the World Cup warm-up Test against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday because of muscle soreness.

McConnochie was due to make his international debut in the opening fixture of the build-up to Japan 2019 against Warren Gatland’s men last weekend but was withdrawn due to a hip problem.

The Bath wing, a sevens specialist who won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, is understood to be 50-50 to pull through.

“Ruaridh pulled up a bit sore today so we’re not 100 per cent sure how he’ll be,” said Jones. “We’ll find out later Friday night. It’s not the same injury. He’s just sore, so we’ll find out about it.”

If McConnochie fails his fitness test, either Anthony Watson or Jonny May will be drafted straight into the starting XV to plug the gap on the right wing.

– Press Association

WATCH: England’s press conference on Thursday with skipper George Ford and assistant coaches Steve Borthwick and Scott Wisemantel

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Mako Vunipola's return date set, but England sweat on McConnochie