England’s Six Nations campaign looks set for a timely boost with the news the prop Mako Vunipola came through his first game back from injury on Friday for Saracens.
The 26-year-old prop has been sidelined with a knee injury since Christmas and missed the first two games of England’s Six Nations title defence against France and Wales.
Now, with a 70 minute effort under his belt against Gloucester in the English Premiership on Friday, it looks like he is ready to put his hand up for a call up back into Eddie Jones’ squad for the three remaining games of this years tournament.
Following the 31-23 defeat to Gloucester, Sarries boss Mark McCall was satisfied with the New Zealand born loosehead.
Speaking to the Press Association Sport after the game, and reported by PlanetRugby, McCall revealed,
“We had an open mind as to how he was going to go.
“He felt pretty good. I thought he did well, given he’s been out for eight or nine weeks. Overall, I thought he was pretty decent.”
Following his return to play, McCall is confident that Vunipola will now feature against Italy next weekend in Twickenham.
“I am assuming he is going to play against Italy in some form, and I think the game-time he got tonight will have been important for him.”
In more good news for England fans, McCall also reported that Billy Vunipola is nearing a return of his own.
“Billy is going very well.
“He is definitely ahead of schedule, and it will depend how the next week or so goes regarding when he comes back.”
Having been out of action since November with his own knee injury, the 24-year-old is ahead of schedule in his own battle with fitness.
Whether me makes it back before the end of the Six Nations campaign remains to be seen but he could still play a role in Saracens European Champions Cup title defence, something that will certainly come as a massive boost for McCall.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
This week’s edition of The Oval Office, we speak with Niall Ronan, David Arnott and talk all things Six Nations.