Billy Vunipola ruled out for three months
England and Saracens number eight broke his arm on Sunday
Billy Vunipola and Mako Vunipola of Saracens look on from the stands after sustaining injuries during the Champions Cup match between Glasgow Warriors and Saracens. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images
Billy Vunipola will miss England’s autumn Test campaign after breaking his left arm. The Saracens number eight suffered his latest injury in Sunday’s 13-3 Champions Cup win at Glasgow, and will undergo surgery on Tuesday.
Prop Mako Vunipola’s calf strain and lock Nick Isiekwe’s ankle sprain will also hand England boss Eddie Jones further headaches, with both now also huge doubts to take part in England’s autumn schedule.
“Nick Isiekwe, Billy Vunipola and Mako Vunipola are set for a spell on the sidelines,” Saracens confirmed in a statement. “The trio were all forced off in Saracens’ Heineken Champions Cup win over Glasgow Warriors on Sunday.
“Isiekwe suffered an ankle sprain and is waiting to be assessed by a consultant with regards to the full extent of the injury. Billy has fractured his left arm and will have surgery on Tuesday. He is expected to be out of action for around 12 weeks.
“Mako picked up a calf strain and his progress will be monitored."
Only last month, Billy Vunipola struck a disarmingly honest chord when admitting he had previously tried to “be a hero” and play through the pain of injury. So, just when Saracens and England were hoping he would hit peak fitness and form for an overdue and deserved extended run of matches, once again he has been forced back into the operating theatre.
The 25-year-old’s absence will put a significant dent in England and boss Jones’ resources for the November clashes with South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia. Exeter’s Sam Simmonds is already out of the autumn equation after tearing knee ligaments, leaving England now lacking a specialist number eight.
Gloucester’s Ben Morgan, deemed surplus to Test requirements since the 2015 World Cup, is fit and in form, so could now come into head coach Jones’ reckoning.
Mako Vunipola’s potential November Test absence would prove another blow to an England pack already missing fellow experienced loosehead prop Joe Marler, who has opted to retire from international rugby.
Fast-improving Lock Isiekwe has already won three caps and would be pushing hard for Test time, barring injury concerns.