Published: 12:18 | 21/8/19

Vunipola set to face Ireland

Prop Mako Vunipola is set to return to the England front row for this Saturday’s World Cup warm-up game against Ireland.

Vunipola, who has 53 international caps, has been out of action since sustaining a hamstring tear in Saracens’ Champions Cup final victory over Leinster in May.

The 28-year-old was forced to undergo surgery on the injury and, following a period of rehabilitation, will use the Twickenham clash to improve his match fitness ahead of the World Cup next month.

Vunipola played in all three Lions tests against New Zealand in 2017 and is a key member of Eddie Jones’s World Cup squad.

"I have been very excited the last two weeks watching the boys play and now I just want to get out there and help them play rugby," he said. 

"I am excited if I do get the chance to be out there and experience it all once again. 

"You take things for granted when you are a bit younger. I remember before the last Rugby World Cup thinking I would have loads more of these; this has changed my mindset, realising it could all be taken away."

Winger Jack Nowell and centre Henry Slade will miss Saturday’s game with ankle and knee injuries respectively, but Jones is expected to name a close to full strength side with Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs, Jamie George and Manu Tuilagi all in line to start.

Image: INPHO

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