Billy Vunipola named in England squad ahead of Six Nations clash with Scotland after proving fitness

The Saracens back-row played 72 minutes in the win over Newcastle on Sunday and has joined up with the England squad ahead of the clash with Scotland on Saturday

Jack de Menezes
Sunday 05 March 2017 21:09
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Billy Vunipola has been called up to the England squad after returning for Saracens
Billy Vunipola has been called up to the England squad after returning for Saracens

Billy Vunipola has been called up to England’s squad for the Six Nations clash against Scotland on Saturday, and faces a very good chance on being included in the Calcutta Cup clash after playing 72 minutes for Saracens on his return from a knee injury.

24-year-old Vunipola missed more than three months after suffering damaged knee ligaments in England’s autumn international victory over Argentina last November, but looked more than ready to return to the international stage as he came through Saracens’s 35-27 bonus-point victory over Newcastle Falcons on Sunday afternoon.

Just a few hours later, Vunipola’s return to the England squad took another step closer as he was named in a 30-man squad that joined up at Pennyhill Park on Sunday to train ahead of the resumption of the Six Nations next weekend.

Scotland’s Sean Maitland and Duncan Taylor also appeared to come through the game unscathed, with the former missing the start of the Six Nations with a rib injury and the latter continuing his comeback from an ankle injury that kept him out of the first half of the season.

The England head coach, Eddie Jones, has also named Anthony Watson in his enlarged training squad after the Bath wing played in their 24-3 defeat by Premiership leaders Wasps on Sunday. Watson has not played for England since last summer, having missed the autumn internationals with a broken jaw suffered in training with the international side and also missed the Six Nations victories over France, Wales and Italy.

Jones did not have any injury concerns on his hands after the 36-15 victory over Italy last weekend, with the head coach claiming his “haven’t played any rugby” meaning the clash was considerably less physical than his side have come to expect in the international stage.

Teimana Harrison, Mike Williams, Tom Wood, Alex Lozowski and Marland Yarde have also joined up with the squad, but face the prospect of being released back to their clubs for the weekend unless there are any injury concerns among Jones’s squad as England look to maintain their 100 per cent record under the Australian.

England squad to train this week:

Forwards (16)

Jack Clifford (Harlequins)

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)

Jamie George (Saracens)

Teimana Harrison (Northampton Saints)

Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)

James Haskell (Wasps)

Nathan Hughes (Wasps)

Maro Itoje (Saracens)

Joe Launchbury (Wasps)

Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)

Joe Marler (Harlequins)

Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)

Billy Vunipola (Saracens)

Mako Vunipola (Saracens)

Mike Williams (Leicester Tigers)

Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)

Backs (14)

Mike Brown (Harlequins)

Danny Care (Harlequins)

Elliot Daly (Wasps)

Owen Farrell (Saracens)

George Ford (Bath Rugby)

Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)

Alex Lozowski (Saracens)

Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)

Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)

Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)

Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)

Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)

Marland Yarde (Harlequins)

Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

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