After a miserable season for the number 8 things could be looking up, with a potential return for Saracens on the cards this weekend. Billy Vunipola has been out since January when he fractured his arm after only briefly returning from a previous lay-off.
The England back rower has had to sit on the sidelines and watch England suffer there worst Six Nations in years and see Saracens fall in the knockout stages of the Champions Cup. He is now in a fight to be fit to be involved in the Play-Off’s in the Aviva Premiership which Sarries secured qualification for a few weeks ago.
Sarcens face London Irish on Sunday and this could see Billy return in some capacity to get some game time. Mark McCall said “We’ll make a decision on Friday as to whether he’s involved this weekend or whether we give him until next weekend,”
“He’s close but hasn’t had a lot of field sessions and (Wednesday) was probably his toughest session so we’ll see how he reacts and make a decision on Friday.
“It’s been almost 16 weeks that he’s been out and we just need to be careful to put him into a rugby match without playing much rugby; although he’s been out for that long, he was out there for quite a long time with his previous injury and he doesn’t really have a bank of games behind him this year. I think he’s only played three full matches.
“It would be useful for him to have a couple of games before the semi-final for him to get back to somewhere near his best. The more game time he can get the better for Billy.”
As Mark McCall has said his lack of game time will be a worry for Saracens and England, he will undoubtedly take a while to get back up to speed with such a lengthy spell out. Whether he’s picked for Sunday will come down to the physicality and intensity of the training he’s been involved in over the last few weeks to get him to this stage. If he is included you would think it would be from the bench potentially, with on paper a fairly easy game for the squad to deal with. This is rugby though and anything can happen. We just look forward to seeing him back on the pitch.