Mako Vunipola has withdrawn from England’s squad to face Wales this weekend after being forced into self-isolation as a Coronavirus precaution.
Vunipola, who recently travelled back from Tonga, stopped off in Hong Kong briefly and as a result, the Rugby Football Federation has had to take the precautionary step to isolate him from the rest of the 34-man squad.
The virus has already wreaked havoc on the championship with Ireland’s home clash against Italy being postponed and England’s trip to Rome still under threat.
Vunipola had flown back to the island nation for ‘family reasons’ which saw him miss England’s triumph over Ireland at Twickenham.
Now, after his flight home stopped off in virus-hit Hong-Kong, the forward has gone into a 14-day period of self-isolation.
The RFU was quick to ensure that it must be stated that while Vunipola has shown no sign or symptom of the virus, the isolation period was absolutely necessary anyway.
“Mako is not in camp on medical grounds,” said an RFU spokesperson.
“He is not sick but it is a precaution.”
The Home Office has declared that people travelling home from virus affected nations should self-isolate and stay at home for two weeks to avoid further spread of the disease.
France are currently top of the pops in the standings after winning all three of their games, and, with just Scotland and Ireland left to play Les Bleus will be eyeing out a first Grand Slam in a decade.
England, whose fate is no longer in their own hands, will be hoping for some kind of French slip up that might just open the door for them to clinch an unlikely title.
Unfortunately, they will have to do it without the power of Vunipola in the front row.
- Ireland vs Italy postponed
- England defeat Ireland in Six Nations
- Jonathan Joseph’s incredible run vs Ireland