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The three clubs circling snubbed England No.8 Billy Vunipola

By Ian Cameron
Billy Vunipola waves at the crowd at the StoneX - PA

As many as three clubs on two continents are said to targeting unwanted England No.8 Billy Vunipola.


Vunipola has proved surplus to requirements under new England head coach Steve Borthwick who left him out of his tournament squad earlier this month.

The Saracens had been reinstated for the July tour to Australia last year, where he performed well, especially in the second Test, but was ineffectual during the Autumn Nations Series.

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Borthwick has opted for Alex Dombrandt and Sam Simmonds ahead of Vunipola at No.8, with Ben Earl, Ben Curry, Jack Willis, Lewis Ludlam and the injured Courtney Lawes making up his back row options.

According to media in France, the fact that hulking Saracens forward is out of contention – for the time being at least – at Test level, has increased the clamour among clubs for his signature.

According to Midi, a reinvigorated Brive are said to be eager to sign the Australian-born loose forward. Buoyed by new investment, the long struggled French side are reported to have contacted Vunipola’s agent.

The is also talk that Racing 92 – who are currently loaning out French international Jordan Joseph to Pau – might be interested.  Vunipola’s former England head coach Stuart Lancaster is taking over at the Parsian big spenders next season. Lancaster gave Vunipola his first cap and if (as rumoured) Joseph decides to stay at Pau, Vunipola might make the perfect replacement.


Closer to home The Daily Mail report that Japanese club Tokyo Sungoliath are also courting to the soon to be out of contact 30-year-old.


“I think in terms of Saracens, we’ve done everything we can do with them,” Vunipola told The Big Jim Show podcast. “In terms of wanting to experience something new, I’m definitely open to it. This is a big year for everyone involved with England and Saracens.

“I want to get picked for England. I want to play for England. After that we can see where we are.


“In terms of experiencing France, Japan or Super Rugby [I’m interested]. My wife’s Australian. It’s definitely something that I’ve thought about before but I’ve never done. I mean I’m thirty now. Now would be the right time to pull the trigger on something like that.”

You can listen to The Big Jim Show podcast in full here. 


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