Fixtures - Top Bar

Vunipola on the road to redemption with Saracens

Billy Vunipola admits it wasn’t just his body left battered and bruised from England’s autumn internationals but his ego too.

However the Saracens No.8 is a firm believer of whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger and has warned England rival Ben Morgan that he is not giving up just yet – far from it.

Heading into the autumn Tests the England No.8 shirt seemed firmly in Vunipola’s grasp, but things began to unravel in the November opener against New Zealand, the world champions teaching the 22-year-old a thing or two about ball retention as he managed just four carries as the All Blacks won at Twickenham.

Things failed to improve as South Africa also left Rugby HQ triumphant the following weekend, with Vunipola dropped altogether for England’s win over Samoa and Morgan chosen to start.

In an effort to force his way back in Stuart Lancaster plans while back with Saracens in Aviva Premiership Rugby, Vunipola suffered concussion against Northampton Saints which again meant he played no part as England signed off from 2014 by putting the Wallabies to the sword.

While Vunipola was on the sidelines Morgan was staking his claim to be Lancaster’s go-to man for the England No.8 jersey.

The Gloucester Rugby man scored two tries against Australia en route to being named man of the match against Australia – but Vunipola insists he is not giving up without a fight.

“The autumn was certainly a massively frustrating time for me but at the same time it was also a huge learning curve,” Vunipola said.

“I think heading into the autumn I maybe got carried away with my form for Sarries and maybe I was just a bit too over-confident in myself, not necessarily on the pitch but perhaps more off it with my religion and faith and everything.

“But maybe being dropped will actually benefit me and turn out to be a good thing because I have learned so much off the back of it.

“I have never been in a situation like that, just for whatever reason I couldn’t transfer my club form over to my country, but sometimes it goes like that and you need to get back on the horse and I am excited about doing that.

“I am still learning and I have a long way to go but I am determined to win back my place and I will do all I can to do exactly that.

“Ben is a very good player and he showed that last month and it is great that we can push each other on. We both want to play but only one can so we will both be trying our hardest to make sure we are the ones with the shirt in time for the Six Nations.”

Being dropped is more than enough motivation for Vunipola to once again reach the heady heights he hit when he burst on the international scene last year.

But just in case he needed it, a fast approaching Six Nations followed by a World Cup on home soil is giving the former Wasp that extra boost.

And he reminded everyone of his talents in Europe just last weekend, scoring the third try in a man-of-the-match performance as Saracens put Sale Sharks to the sword in the European Rugby Champions Cup.

“One lesson I learned from the autumn is that you can’t think too far ahead, you have to take each game as they come and focus on that,” Vunipola added.

“I know I have to play well to even be included in the squad for the Six Nations but I do keep thinking about what playing a World Cup  game at Twickenham would be like.

“I would love to play in a World Cup in England, in an England shirt, and that gives me extra motivation to get back in the side.”

Billy Vunipola is a Land Rover Ambassador. Keep up to date with the latest Land Rover rugby activity by following @LandRoverRugby on Twitter
 

Latest News

‘Full steam ahead’ for Thomas Waldrom at Exeter Chiefs

Thomas Waldrom insists it’s ‘full steam ahead’ for him and his Exeter Chiefs team-mates as they look to book their…

Thomas Waldrom

We must raise game against teams around us, says Gloucester Rugby’s Sharples

Charlie Sharples believes Gloucester Rugby need to beat sides in and around them to secure their place in the into…

Susie Appleby reacts to Women’s Super Rugby competition announcement

Head Coach Susie Appleby admitted today that she was 'over the moon' at the news that Gloucester-Hartpury Women will participate…

Kingsholm

Match Officials for Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 17

The experienced Wayne Barnes will take charge of the crunch Sunday afternoon clash between Worcester Warriors and Bristol Rugby at…

RFU announces ten clubs for new Women’s Super Rugby competition

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has announced the ten clubs that have been offered places, subject to contract, in the new…

Steve Diamond Looks Ahead To Friday Night against Northampton Saints

Steve Diamond has said that Friday’s Aviva Premiership game against Northampton Saints is a must-win game for his side. The…

Steve Diamond

RFU Disciplinary: Phil Dowson

Phil Dowson of Worcester Warriors will appear before an RFU Disciplinary panel charged with striking with his elbow, contrary to…

Phil Dowson

Matt Cox signs new Worcester Warriors deal

Warriors' all-action back row Matt Cox has signed a new contract to remain at Sixways. The Redditch-born Warriors Academy graduate…

Matt Cox

BT Sport and ITV Sport coverage of Aviva Premiership Rugby

Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 17 takes centre stage this weekend as the battle for top four spots heats up at…

Ben Tapuai not dwelling on past results in Bath Rugby top-four push

Ben Tapuai believes he has struck gold with Bath Rugby, but the centre is determined that his side must only…

Saints star Michael Paterson confident ahead of Sale return

Michael Paterson knows better than most how hard it is to face Sale Sharks away from home, but the Northampton…

Alex Rieder’s ambition burns bright after new Wasps contract

Alex Rieder grew up watching the Wasps sides of years gone by lifting silverware and dominating Europe and – after…

Youngsters ready for Wasps’ Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup

Midlands rugby club youngsters will take part in a nationwide festival this weekend at Broadstreet Rugby Club in Coventry as Wasps…