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Mako Vunipola to miss Wales game as Watson returns

Eddie Jones is planning without the giant prop for their crucial round four game in Twickenham.

Vunipola is in Tonga on family business.
Vunipola is in Tonga on family business.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

ENGLAND HAVE TO plan without Mako Vunipola for their crucial game against Wales on Saturday week. The loose-head prop is currently in Tonga after a close relative fell ill, which resulted in him missing the Ireland game on Sunday.

England are due back in camp tomorrow but Eddie Jones, their head coach, suggested Vunipola was unlikely to be involved. When asked if the 29-year-old would be back, Jones replied: “Probably not. He’s gone home for family business.”

However Anthony Watson, their winger, is expected back in the squad to face the Welsh, after coming through a fitness test to deal with a calf problem. Watson will be hoping to reclaim his place from Jonathan Joseph, who deputised on the wing on Sunday.

Jones, meanwhile, spoke glowingly about the impact Manu Tuilagi had on his team at the weekend. The giant centre has made a habit out of peaking against Ireland, producing his third impressive performance in 12 months against Andy Farrell’s team. “He’s powerful,” Jones said. “We don’t have a powerful backline. We’ve got good movers but power is a very important part of the game and when we don’t have him it’s difficult.”

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Garry Doyle

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