Billy and Mako Vunipola backed to earn England recalls ahead of Six Nations

Less than a month remains until the 2022 Six Nations gets underway on February 5, and doubt reigns as to whether Billy or Mako Vunipola will be involved with the England squad.

Both Saracens stars were controversially omitted from Eddie Jones ' selection for autumn wins over Tonga, Australia and South Africa.

The brothers were former regulars for the Red Rose, but with the Six Nations squad set to be announced on January 18, it's unknown as to whether either player has done enough to win back their place.

At least from an outsider's perspective, that is, with Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall in no doubt the national team could do with both talents for the upcoming tournament.

The club announced in December that both Vunipolas had signed new long-term contracts at the StoneX Stadium, signalling a desire to stay and fight for their England futures despite outside interest.

"They have shown good form over the three months since they weren’t selected," McCall told reporters. "If Eddie wanted to get a reaction from them, he definitely got that.

"They are both playing well. They have committed to staying in England, which shows that they want to go to the World Cup.

"But the rest is not up to them. I’m not sure who is going to be involved (from Saracens) at the moment. We were surprised in the autumn."

Would you include one or both of the Vunipola brothers in England's Six Nations squad? Let us know in the comments section.

It will be no bad thing, of course, for Sarries if some of their star players are withheld from international duty and allowed to concentrate fully on club matters.

But the Barnet outfit has also grown accustomed to coping without their customary crop of Test-level talents when the international window comes calling.

Jones insisted in September that age wasn't a factor after snubbing younger Vunipola brother Billy for an England training squad, calling for improvement from the No. 8: "Billy's got to find the best version of himself.

"I think he's going in the right direction at the moment. We'll see where he goes."

Jones, 61, is under pressure of his own to improve after England finished a dismal fifth in the 2021 Six Nations, their worst result since 1987.

The competition for places among England's back row has stiffened of late, too, with the emerging Alex Dombrandt adding to existing options like Sale 's Tom Curry and prolific Exeter Chief Sam Simmonds.

It was also a surprise to see prop Mako left out having only just returned from his third British and Irish Lions tour, and England ended up looking somewhat light at loosehead in November.

One Saracens player who is backed to make the Six Nations selection is England captain Owen Farrell, who is nearing a return to fitness after he came off injured in the win over Australia on November 13.

Farrell, 30, will have limited game time at club level to prove himself ahead of the tournament, but McCall hailed his fly-half as "naturally incredibly fit" and was confident he'd be up for the task.

Read More

Read More

Source: Read Full Article