Billy Vunipola Opens Up About His Decision To Not Got On The Lions Tour
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Billy Vunipola has opened up about his difficult decision to withdraw from the Lions tour of New Zealand in his new autobiography Wrecking Ball.
The powerful number eight was all set to star in the Test series, having recovered from his shoulder injury towards the end of last season, capping his return off with a super MOTM performance in the Champions Cup final.
He soon realised however, that his injury was far from healed and would require surgery and extensive rehab. Saracens had been managing him for a number of weeks, with Vunipola’s shoulder said to have regularly popped out of place during matches.
Ultimately Vunipola decided not to put the surgery off and pulled out of the Lions tour as he felt he would be nothing more than a burden to them with his injury,
“My conscience told me that I shouldn’t go on the tour because otherwise, I’d be letting people down.” Vunipola writes
“I’m not saying that from a selfish point of view, as if I wanted to go to New Zealand and be the star. But I didn’t think I’d be able to help the team in a positive way on the pitch. What was the point in touring if I was going to be a hindrance?
“Having learned from so many experiences, I’m now at a stage where I’m confident in what I stand for and what I believe in, so I have no doubts that I made the right decision.
“And it was my decision. It was important for me to show that I was mature enough to make the call myself and not wait for somebody else to do it for me. Sometimes my body just can’t keep up with all the demands I place on it, and that’s just the nature of the beast.
“The injury was something that happened a long time before the tour. I tried to tough it out but the timing wasn’t right for me on that occasion.”
Still only 24 years-old, there’s absolutely no doubt we will eventually see Billy Vunipola pull on the famous Lions red jersey.