Rugby Union


Billy Vunipola admits fault at recent injury which could have cost him an England place

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Billy Vunipola only has himself to blame for risking a further setback on his injury comeback trail following a bizarre lack of judgement with an Aussie Rules ball.

Some concerns had been raised after Vunipola only completed 40 minutes in the semi-final against Wasps but he was able to get through 59 minutes of the Premiership final for the Saracens against Exeter last weekend.

It has been revealed the niggling hamstring problem that has limited his playing time over the last few weeks was caused by his own foolishness.

Having already missed most of the season through injury, the England No.8 didn't even tell the medical staff at Saracens about his latest mishap when trying to kick an Aussie Rules ball.

"I trained fully the week before the game against Wasps and I felt really good, but, it was my fault, I was doing some AFL kicking and then my hammy went tight before the game," he told the Daily Mail.

It was only after leaving the field against Wasps that he admitted what he had done. 

"I didn't tell the coaches that, but when I came off at half-time against Wasps I told them, I was like, 'sorry guys, I was doing AFL kicking'. I stitched myself up there.

"Then we had to manage it a bit better, I had to manage myself a bit better the week after.

Wasps v Saracens - Aviva Premiership

"Now I feel strong again, I had a really good start to the week. Hopefully, next week I'll train fully and I'll be fine."

Shoulder and knee injuries have been major causes for concern for the England man who rose to fame after scoring tries against Italy and Wales in the England U18s team, helping them on a 19-game unbeaten run in 2010.

In November 2013, he broke through the ranks and made his first senior appearance with England in a 20-13 win over Australia at Twickenham. Since then, he has just gone from strength to strength on the field, but sadly it always seems like he's in the wars and destined to be an injury-prone player.

Saracens v Exeter Chiefs- Aviva Premiership Final

He broke his arm at the turn of the year against the Ospreys which meant he missed the Six Nations. It was clearly distressing to him since he had also missed the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand and the autumn internationals in 2017 too. However, after undergoing specialist treatment, he was able to return at the end of March against London Irish.

A few niggles here and there seemed to just be part of the road to recovery but his recent admission to the Aussie Rules ball training injury completely threatened to halt his chances of playing for England again.

A three-Test series begins in a few weeks between England and South Africa in Johannesburg and Vunipola will be in contention for a starting place, providing he can stay fit.

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Rugby Union
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