England prop Mako Vunipola ahead of schedule in recovery at Rugby World Cup
England has been given a fitness by mako Vunipola center days before his Rugby World Cup opener since he returned to live scrummaging ahead of schedule in his recovery from a hamstring strain.
Front-row forward Vunipola and winger Jack Nowell have both already been ruled out of England’s Pool C opener from Tonga at Sapporo on Sunday, however their participation in Wednesday’s training session, along with injury doubts Mark Wilson and Joe Cokanasiga, guaranteed all 31 members of Eddie Jones’ group were active.
Even with Vunipola’s progress, scrum coach Neal Hatley warned that the confidence in their squad thickness of England means they are unlikely to hurry the Saracens loosehead again until their third pool match.
“We have had a really good day,” Hatley said. “Everyone’s trained. Mark Wilson’s educated, Joe Cokanasiga’s trained, Mako’s done live scrums, the face of the pitch’s been flying down, therefore really happy with how people are currently coming on and where we are.
“With the short turnaround, we’ll see where we reach with him (Vunipola). We have got obviously Joe (Marler) and Ellis (Genge), two excellent looseheads, so we’re not going to push Mak, but it’s brilliant at which he’s, we did not think he’d do live scrums now.
“So it’s testament the job that the medical team’s done and just how hard Mak’s functioned that he’s back in a position to do live scrums early”
Vunipola underwent operation after injuring his hamstring in May in Saracens’ Heineken Cup final victory, last month, prior to enduring a re-occurrence of the issue at England’s warm-up victory over Ireland.