Billy Vunipola set for early Saracens return to hand England a major boost ahead of Six Nations Calcutta Cup clash

No 8 was initally feared to have been ruled out of the entire Six Nations but could now return for the Calcutta Cup match against Scotland

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The remarkable recovery powers of the Vunipola brothers appears to have struck once again after it emerged that Billy Vunipola is in line to return from injury for Saracens this weekend, opening the door for him to play a part in England’s Six Nations campaign.

England have beaten France, Wales and Italy so far without the No 8, who suffered a knee injury during last year’s autumn international victory over Argentina. The 24-year-old was, up until that point, with of England key players, and was in the form of his life after flourishing under the guidance of Eddie Jones.

Wasps No 8 Nathan Hughes has stepped up to fill his place in the back-row, but it is understood that Saracens are ready to name Vunipola in their side that will face Newcastle Falcons in Sunday’s Premiership clash, opening up the possibility of Vunipola being named in the side that faces Scotland next Saturday.

Vunipola was left out of the 27-man England squad that Jones called up for their training week in Oxford, despite returning to full training on Monday back at his club.

His recovery echoes that of his older brother, Mako, who returned ahead of schedule after recovering from his own knee injury to come off the replacements’ bench and make a notable impact in England’s 36-15 victory over Italy at the weekend.

Mako is one of six player that will be released this weekend to play for their clubs, giving Saracens the option of deploying both Vunipola brothers as they look to overhaul Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership table, having dropped below them to third last weekend after failing to clinch a bonus point in the win over Sale Sharks.

Another England player in line to make his return to action this weekend is the Bath wing Anthony Watson. The 23-year-old has not played since Bath’s 69-10 victory over Pau on 13 January, having seen his comeback from a three-month absence due to a broken jaw cut short at just four appearances.

But after narrowly missing the Six Nations match with Italy at the weekend due to fitness, Watson is in line to play in Bath’s visit of league leaders Wasps this weekend in an effort to prove his fitness to Jones ahead of the Calcutta Cup clash next weekend.