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Dublin: 1°C Thursday 6 May 2021

Vunipola in race to be fit for Saracens' Champions Cup showdown with Leinster

The number eight is recovering from an arm injury.

Vunipola missed the Six Nations.
Vunipola missed the Six Nations.
Image: Stu Forster

ENGLAND NUMBER EIGHT Billy Vunipola faces a race against time to be fit for Saracens’ Champions Cup quarter-final against Leinster on Easter Sunday.

Vunipola sustained an arm injury in January and missed the Six Nations tournament as a result.

He was hoping to return in time for the trip to Dublin to face Leinster.

But Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has revealed his fitness remains in doubt.

It was the latest setback of torrid 18-month spell that also included substantial lay-offs due to knee and shoulder surgeries and McCall will not gamble on his fitness against Leinster.

“It’s a little bit uncertain, Billy is in a race against time to be ready for the quarter-final,” McCall said on Tuesday.

“We’ll make a call on what the surgeon says. If the arm isn’t right to play then we won’t risk him. He’s been injured enough, we don’t want to re-injure him.

“Billy is very close to coming back but whether he makes the quarter-final we’re not sure yet.”

Vunipola’s comeback is being monitored carefully by England, who sorely missed the rampaging back-row during their fifth-place finish in the Six Nations that was sealed by a 24-15 defeat by Ireland on Saturday.

Nathan Hughes filled the 25-year-old’s boots for two matches before suffering a knee injury that required surgery, while Sam Simmonds started three games only for concern to be raised over his size for a number eight.

© – AFP, 2018

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