England star to miss potential Six Nations title decider
INJURY UPDATE: England prop Mako Vunipola will play no further part in their bid to win a second Six Nations Grand Slam under Eddie Jones due to an ankle injury, the Rugby Football Union announced on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old – who missed the November Tests with a calf injury – went off early in the second half of the 44-8 rout of France on Saturday and watched the rest of the game with ice strapped to his left ankle.
Vunipola, named man of the match in England’s opening Six Nations victory over last year’s Grand Slam-winners Ireland, is expected to be out for more than two months.
“Following medical assessments, Mako Vunipola [Saracens] has been ruled out of England’s Six Nations campaign with an ankle ligament injury,” an RFU statement said.
“Vunipola picked up the injury during England’s win against France on Sunday and is expected to be out for 10 weeks.
“The England prop will begin his rehabilitation with his club Saracens.”
Jones has spectacularly arrested the decline in England’s fortunes, which saw them surrender their Six Nations title limply last year and then lose a Test series in South Africa.
He said losing Vunipola was a blow but in World Cup year it would allow someone else a chance to stake their claim.
“It is obviously very disappointing to lose Mako at this stage as he is an important player for us but it does provide an opportunity for the team to grow,” said Jones.
Vunipola’s enforced absence will see him miss the potential title-decider when Wales host England on February 23.
RugbyPass has created a next-generation rugby rating system, based on machine learning and shaped by game-winning moments. The system (RPI) is a world first for its complexity and comprehensive embrace of northern and southern hemisphere players and teams. By using in-depth data analysis, RPI determines exactly what it takes to win, in real time. Explore the RPI now!