Billy Vunipola set to make England debut during tour of Argentina
The Wasps number eight is expected to be included in the England side to face a South American XV in Montevideo
Friday 31 May 2013
Billy Vunipola is set to make his first senior England start on the same weekend as his brother, Mako, lines up for the British and Irish Lions in Hong Kong.
The Wasps number eight is expected to be included in the England side to face a South American XV in Montevideo this Sunday, the tourists' final hit-out before the two-Test series against Argentina.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster will confirm his side later today and it will be dominated by Northampton players, who are all due to be given a chance to put last weekend's Aviva Premiership final defeat behind them.
Tom Wood will captain England from alongside Vunipola in the back row, with fly-half Stephen Myler, scrum-half Lee Dickson, centre Luther Burrell, full-back Ben Foden and lock Courtney Lawes all set for inclusion.
Vunipola would have made his Test debut during the RBS 6 Nations were it not for an untimely ankle injury and Lancaster is anxious to unleash the 20-stone ball carrier onto the international stage.
The 20-year-old is joining Saracens next season, where he will link up with his elder brother, who is the starting loosehead prop for the Lions against the Barbarians in Hong Kong tomorrow.
In Mako's absence and with Alex Cobisiero having started England's 40-12 win against the Barbarians, Joe Marler is set to pack down at loosehead with Sale's Henry Thomas at tightead.
Wasps-bound lock Kearnan Myall is due to join Lawes in the second row while Lancaster is set to give first senior starts to the Bath centre Kyle Eastmond and Gloucester wing Jonny May.
The CONSUR XV line-up for the game at the 14,000 capacity Estadio Charrua includes six members of the Argentina squad selected for the Tests in Salta on June 8 and Buenos Aires on June 15.
There are 11 Argentinian players in total in the squad, with 10 from Uruguay plus the Chilean lock Pablo Huete and the Brazilian centre Moises Duque.
The CONSUR XV are coached by former Puma internationals Rolando Martin and Federico Todeschini, who played fly-half when the Pumas beat England at Twickenham in 2006.
The England squad head to the Uruguay capital on Saturday morning. Last night they were invited to a reception at the British ambassador's residence in Buenos Aires.
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