Billy Vunipola’s excellent afternoon helping England to an eight-try demolition job of Ireland ended on a bittersweet moment, the sight of older brother Mako lasting just 17 minutes as a replacement before coming off in his comeback game following a serious hamstring operation last May.
The loosehead had created great hype when declared fit to play in midweek, but his return was cut short when he limped to the sidelines two minutes from the finish, sparking concerns about his fitness for next month’s World Cup in Japan.
After Eddie Jones claimed the switch was a precautionary move and that the limp will be investigated fully, Billy told RugbyPass: “I talked to him but he hasn’t given me too much. All I have got is, ‘Yeah, I feel alright. I’m okay’. The medics will do what they need to do and hopefully we’ll all get an update.
“I’m in the same boat as everyone else. If I wasn’t his brother he’d probably tell me more but because I am his little brother, he is trying to be the tough guy. We’re just here to support him and hopefully, fingers crossed he is okay.”
Despite watching two of his Saracens team-mates Maro Itoje and George Kruis get among the try-scorers in the Twickenham rout, Vunipola feels there is more to work on with England having one more warm-up game to play before they fly to Japan, the September 6 fixture against Italy in Newcastle.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 24, 2019
He said: “We’re pretty happy with it. Satisfied is probably the wrong term, we always want to improve. There are parts of our game that probably let us down. That second try where we let in Bundee (Aki) was probably on me. but these things are always there to work on.”
With England’s forwards showing superb handling and mobility, Vunipola agreed that it is an area that has improved under Jones. “For us, it’s always trying to add things to our game and having props that can play with the ball in hand.
“It was only last year that Tadhg (Furlong) was leading in terms of that facet of the game. We are learning off other people as much as each other. It was awesome to see Kyle (Sinckler) put someone through a hole – not sure about the celebrations, but it was great to watch.”
WATCH: Billy Vunipola talks to RugbyPass about the injury his brother Mako suffered on Saturday
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