Massive Blow For England Ahead Of Ireland Clash As Top Player Withdraws From Squad

Out.

England have been hit with a massive blow ahead of their Six Nations clash with Ireland this weekend with prop Mako Vunipola pulling out of their squad.

Vunipola has been left out of the 33-man training squad that will prepare for the round three fixture, with Bath’s Beno Obano called up in his place.

“Mako Vunipola is not included as he has travelled back to Tonga for family reasons,” a Rugby Football Union statement read.

Vunipola’s absence comes as a major blow for Eddie Jones’ side who are already without the ferocious ball-carrying skills of Mako’s brother Billy Vunipola at number eight.

Mako’s absence against France in the opening round was clearly felt, despite his replacement Joe Marler having a good game.

England will now be hoping Manu Tuilagi will be fit in time for Sunday’s game with Ireland, with the centre the last real big ball-carrier in their team that has made their game so effective in the last 12 months or so.

Updates on Tuilagi and fellow centre Henry Slade are expected tomorrow.