Vunipola in action for England. Mike Egerton
big loss

Blow for the Lions as England star Vunipola forced to withdraw

The Saracens number eight requires treatment on a recurring shoulder injury.

THE BRITISH & IRISH Lions have been dealt a significant blow with news that Billy Vunipola has withdrawn from the squad.

England and Saracens number eight Vunipola has been managing an ongoing shoulder injury, and the 24-year-old informed head coach Warren Gatland that he requires further treatment.

“It is really disappointing for Billy and we know how much he was looking forward to joining the squad,” said Gatland, in a statement released tonight.

“He has been carrying an injury and feels he wouldn’t be able to contribute fully to the Tour and needs further medical treatment.

We really appreciate his honesty in making this decision and wish him luck with his recovery.”

The 30 players met up at Carton House this weekend ahead of next month’s tour to New Zealand. Wasps and England back row James Haskell has been called up as a replacement and he will join the squad after next Sunday’s Aviva Premiership final.

“We have called up James to the squad, we wish him all the best next weekend and look forward to welcoming him into camp before we depart,” added Gatland.

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