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Sport Billy Vunipola is still the back row boss despite Tom Curry's rise

03:15  29 october  2020
03:15  29 october  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Billy Vunipola has been summoned for talks with the Rugby Football Union after he backed an Australian player' s homophobic comments with an England' s number eight was acting in support of Australia full- back and fellow devout Christian Israel Folau, who stated on social media that 'hell

England rugby star Billy Vunipola was kicked off his school rugby team aged 11 for being rude and had to pen a grovelling letter, his PE teacher revealed today. The prop insisted he would 'improve my attitude' after being reprimanded by Lloyd Spacey, his teacher at The Castle School in Thornbury

a baseball player holding a racket: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Billy Vunipola received an emphatic endorsement on Wednesday, at a time when England’s vast array of Test-class back-rowers means their acclaimed World Cup trio find themselves under pressure.

The giant Saracens No 8 has not been at his dominant best since the season resumption, just as a host of contenders have been jostling to claim a place in Eddie Jones’ pack.

The younger Vunipola brother and the head coach’s ‘Kamikaze Kids’ — Tom Curry and Sam Underhill — are the established combination at the back of the scrum. But double player of the year Jack Willis, Ben Earl, Alex Dombrandt, Ted Hill and Lewis Ludlam are all pushing for promotion.

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England number eight Billy Vunipola is likely to miss the Six Nations after breaking his arm during Saracens' win over Racing 92 on Sunday. His possible absence boosts Harlequins' back row Alex Dombrandt' s chances of an England call-up, while Saracens' Ben Earl, Sale' s Ben Curry and Exeter' s

Vunipola is joined in backing up by George Ford, who captains the side, Tom Curry , who Jones says needs more experience at blindside flanker, Elliot Daly and It is not hard to imagine him and Cole as the enforcers within the squad. They sit at the back of the England team bus and no doubt keep the

a baseball player holding a racket: Billy Vunipola (above) has not been at his dominant best since the season resumption © Provided by Daily Mail Billy Vunipola (above) has not been at his dominant best since the season resumption

While big Billy is a renowned talisman for Jones’ England, the 27-year-old missed the main part of the Six Nations earlier this year due to injury. In his absence, Curry rapidly adapted to the task of deputising at No 8. The Sale flanker’s versatility means there could be a temptation to unleash three mobile poachers together in the championship finale against Italy in Rome on Saturday.

However, there is also a need for gainline-busting clout — especially without Manu Tuilagi in midfield. Forwards and defence coach John Mitchell acts as a mentor for the back-rowers and said: ‘Billy has a huge capacity for work. He regularly plays 80 minutes in Tests.

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Vunipola is retained in the back row for Thursday’ s World Cup clash with the USA at the Kobe Misaki Stadium just four days after Tonga were dispatched Vunipola has said he wants to be involved as much as possible after spending the majority of last season in the treatment room and Jones insists

Billy Vunipola needed treatment before being withdrawn from England' s win over Argentina. Tom Curry switched from blind-side flanker to the back of the scrum during the second half against Argentina and could play there again if required, while Mark Wilson - who impressed there during last

a football player on a field: Vunipola was replaced by Tom Curry (above) in Eddie Jones' England squad following his injury © Provided by Daily Mail Vunipola was replaced by Tom Curry (above) in Eddie Jones' England squad following his injury Eddie Jones wearing a blue hat: However, the Saracens No 8 is still regarded as one of the best back row players Jones has © Provided by Daily Mail However, the Saracens No 8 is still regarded as one of the best back row players Jones has

‘It is phenomenal how he is able to keep pushing on to the ball and contribute in the way that he does. It’s a unique quality that he has. Never judge a book by its cover — it’s what’s inside. He’s highly motivated. He has proven that.

‘It comes down to creating the right combination and mix. Clearly the opposition have strengths as well, so you want to deny them access into the game. It is getting that mix right — having that ability to carry, the ability to create contests in breakdown, having the ability to distribute.

‘You have two guys who are generally hunting the ball defensively and you have one who has to be a bit more patient. Then you have a third lineout jumper. You have to get all those things covered.’

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Tom Curry . During England’ s 39-10 pool-stage victory over Argentina in Tokyo, Billy Vunipola was forced from the field at On their own put-in, Saracens posted Brad Barritt in the back row and shifted Earl to the base. Now, the 22 year-old is an explosive athlete and a real weapon with a sturdy platform.

CLASH OF THE GIANTS: Billy Vunipola challenges South Africa to 'bring it on' as England' s 'big blokes' plan to fight fire with fire in a physical Rugby World Cup final. With that comes pressure - and Vunipola says England are determined to prove that their semi-final performance was not just a 'fluke'.

Vunipola started every match for England in the World Cup last year as they surged into the final before losing to South Africa. He has considerable credit in the bank. When he is fit, he tends to start. England will also be mindful of the need to eclipse the ball- carrying threat posed by Italy’s Gloucester flanker Jake Polledri.


Video: England rugby players train ahead of resumption of Six Nations (Daily Mail)

Willis has burst to prominence lately with his breakdown exploits and all-round class for Wasps, but England’s coaches are determined to carefully assess him in their own environment.

a group of men playing a game of football: Vunipola started every match for England in the World Cup last year when they made the final © Provided by Daily Mail Vunipola started every match for England in the World Cup last year when they made the final While Curry was shortlisted for the World Rugby Player of the Year award after the World Cup © Provided by Daily Mail While Curry was shortlisted for the World Rugby Player of the Year award after the World Cup

‘Jack has been in the camp three days,’ said Mitchell. ‘He’s a really good character who asks really good questions and is extremely flexible in the way he goes about his poaching. That’s a big strength of his but clearly there are other aspects that are pretty good in his game as well.

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Vunipola , the latest member of a great Tongan rugby dynasty to win international honours, ran with It is some rise to prominence. This time last year, Morgan looked for all the world like a long-term fixture in According to Graham Rowntree, the national team' s forwards coach, Vunipola is as strong in the

Billy Vunipola spoke at the weekend to rule himself out of the Six Nations but he will join the England squad for a 'medical review' ahead of this week' s England welcome two large figures back to their Pennyhill Park training base this week after it was confirmed that Mako Vunipola had been named in

‘He will create good competition with the others that excel in that area as well, but Test rugby is different to club rugby. There are higher demands. To me, it’s about adapting to Test rugby. Certain players have that capacity and skill-set and other players may take a lot longer.’

Curry’s place in the starting XV is assured. He was shortlisted for the World Rugby Player of the Year award after the World Cup and his form has not dipped since.

Mitchell described him as being ‘in good nick’ and added: ‘I can’t wait to see him play.’

For his part, Curry can’t wait to play again after an agonising end to his club season, as Sale were denied a title shot after a Covid outbreak which saw them register 27 positive tests among players and staff.

Reflecting on the grim episode, the 22-year-old said: ‘For me, once something is out of your control, what can you do about it? It happened, park it and move on. The England stuff was something for me to look forward to.

a football player on a field: England will have to manage Italy¿s Gloucester flanker Jake Polledri's carrying threat © Provided by Daily Mail England will have to manage Italy¿s Gloucester flanker Jake Polledri's carrying threat

‘I always tested negative throughout the whole thing. Have they got to the bottom of it? I don’t know. There is an investigation but it’s nothing to do with me. I’ll wait for whatever they say.’

Curry acknowledged that the shattering experience with Sale —followed by the cancellation of last Sunday’s clash with the Barbarians due to Covid protocol breaches within the opposition squad — reinforced the need to stick to the guidelines.

‘As players and as a team we have a responsibility not just to represent ourselves and our country extremely well, but also the game of rugby,’ he said.

‘It’s a big honour and responsibility and one we take very seriously.

‘We have to make sure we are doing the right things — staying in, being respectful of the bubble, social distancing, hand sanitising and all this stuff.’

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