Billy Vunipola doubtful for England's tour of South Africa after injury woe

Last Updated May 02 2018, 15:53Rugby Union
Billy Vunipola
Billy Vunipola

Billy Vunipola has suffered yet another injury setback that casts doubt over his involvement in England's summer tour to South Africa.

Billy Vunipola has suffered yet another injury setback that casts doubt over his involvement in England's summer tour to South Africa.

Vunipola withdrew from Saracens training on Wednesday afternoon because of a tight hamstring that has ruled him out of at least Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash with Gloucester and he is being assessed to discover the extent of the damage.

The number eight has played only 249 minutes over the past year due to shoulder, knee and arm problems and his last international appearance was against Ireland in March 2017.

"Nothing happened, he just felt some tightness and awareness of that tightness. The hamstring hasn't been pulled," Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said.

"He would like to play against Gloucester but we won't play him if we think he will pull his hamstring in the game."

Vunipola made his comeback from the fractured arm incurred on Champions Cup duty in January as a second-half replacement against London Irish on Sunday and made an instant impact with a succession of effective carries.

The 25-year-old entered the match with minor concern over his hamstring, however, and the discomfort has resurfaced in training.

Saracens will hope he recovers in time for their Premiership semi-final against Wasps or Newcastle on May 19, but given his injury record there is concern over his long-term fitness that could have implications for England.

Eddie Jones names his squad for the three-Test series against the Springboks next Thursday and he will be anxiously waiting for a medical update on his most destructive ball carrier.

"It was mature of him not to try to plough on in training. If we have to scan it we will. That's likely to happen, I would have thought," McCall said.

"When you have been out for a very long time, like he has, you try to get some volume in the legs.

"He has done for months now. Then it is into rugby sessions which are a little bit different. He looked good today (Wednesday) until he had to stop. He stopped halfway through."

England can ill-afford any further losses as they contend with an escalating list of absentees for the June trip to South Africa.

Dylan Hartley, George Kruis, Nathan Hughes, Courtney Lawes, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson have been ruled out for the entire season, while Bath have implored Jones not to pick Sam Underhill as he continues his recovery from a toe injury.

Related rugby union links

Most Read

Fulham players celebrate with Tom Cairney after his goal in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final.1

Fulham seal Premier League return

Tom Cairney was the hero for his side as Fulham earned a Premier League return with a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final.

Romanised winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas2

Ballydoyle floored by Roman conqueror

Romanised gave trainer Ken Condon his first Classic success when springing a 25/1 surprise in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

Real Madrid face Liverpool in the Champions League final3

Champions League final guide

All you need to know ahead of the Champions League final with features, analysis, teams news & best bets for Real Madrid v Liverpool in Kiev.

Manchester United and France winger Anthony Martial4

Saturday's Paper Talk

Spurs will ask Manchester United to let them have Anthony Martial as part of any deal taking Toby Alderweireld to Old Trafford according to Saturday's papers.

Klopp v Zidane in the Champions League final5

Champions League final tips

It's goals on the menu in Kiev as Paul Higham predicts a Champions League final thriller between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Most Read

Fulham players celebrate with Tom Cairney after his goal in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final.1

Fulham seal Premier League return

Tom Cairney was the hero for his side as Fulham earned a Premier League return with a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final.

Romanised winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas2

Ballydoyle floored by Roman conqueror

Romanised gave trainer Ken Condon his first Classic success when springing a 25/1 surprise in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

Real Madrid face Liverpool in the Champions League final3

Champions League final guide

All you need to know ahead of the Champions League final with features, analysis, teams news & best bets for Real Madrid v Liverpool in Kiev.

Manchester United and France winger Anthony Martial4

Saturday's Paper Talk

Spurs will ask Manchester United to let them have Anthony Martial as part of any deal taking Toby Alderweireld to Old Trafford according to Saturday's papers.

Klopp v Zidane in the Champions League final5

Champions League final tips

It's goals on the menu in Kiev as Paul Higham predicts a Champions League final thriller between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Racing Tips

Check out our horse racing nap of the day

Sporting Life: Daily Nap

Ben Linfoot previews the action from the Curragh and ParisLongchamp on Sunday with the Sporting Life Daily Nap running in Ireland.

Colin Tizzard

Sunday's racing preview

Keith Hamer fancies Valseur Du Granval to be a fitting winner at Uttoxeter on Sunday and has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Battaash pulls clear of his King George rivals

Saturday's racing preview

Keith Hamer previews Saturday's action and expects Battaash to make a winning reappearance at Haydock. He has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Next Race Off
20:45 Golden Gate Fields
5
(5)
Top Drawer
J: William Iii Antongeorgi
2
(2)
Spot N The Line
J: Catalino Martinez

Football Tips

Check out our outright tips for the World Cup

World Cup: Outright tips

Five-time winners Brazil are given the confident selection for World Cup glory as Matt Brocklebank takes a look at the outright betting market.

Dean Henderson will be hopeful of more celebrations at full-time on Sunday

Rotherham v Shrews: Play-off tips

Sky Bet League One takes centre stage on Sunday when Rotherham meet Shrewsbury. Tom Carnduff has 12/5, 7/2 and 18/1 best bets.

Jayden Stockley and Exeter celebrate

Coventry v Exeter: play-off tips

The Sky Bet EFL play-offs end with Coventry's meeting with Exeter at Wembley and Tom Carnduff is backing the Grecians for success.