Vunipola blow for England
NEWS: England prop Mako Vunipola has been ruled out of Sunday’s Six Nations clash with Ireland for family reasons.
Vunipola has been left out of the 33-man training squad that will prepare for the round three fixture, with Beno Obano called up in his place.
“Mako Vunipola is not included as he has travelled back to Tonga for family reasons,” a Football Union statement read.
Losing Vunipola is a major blow for England, who have already lost his younger brother Billy to a broken arm for the entire Six Nations.
Eddie Jones still has two high-quality loosehead props at his disposal, however, in Joe Marler and Ellis Genge.
England will on Wednesday give a fitness update on Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade, who have been suffering from respective groin and ankle problems.
Tuilagi is on track for a return to the side after a minor groin niggle, but Slade’s involvement is in doubt given his two-month absence with a fractured ankle.
Sunday’s match is a high stakes one.
England will hope to keep their Triple Crown dreams alive and at the same time prevent Ireland maintaining their push for a second Grand Slam in three years.
The Irish beat Scotland and Wales both at home but travel to Twickenham having lost to England on their last two meetings, a rare home reverse in last year’s Six Nations and then a 57-15 whipping before the World Cup.
Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Tom Dunn (Bath), Ben Earl (Saracens), Charlie Ewels (Bath), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Beno Obano (Bath), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Will Stuart (Bath), Sam Underhill (Bath), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs).
Backs: Elliot Daly (Saracens), Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), George Furbank (Northampton Saints), Willi Heinz (Gloucester), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ollie Thorley (Gloucester), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Jacob Umaga (Wasps), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).