England will have talismanic number eight Billy Vunipola back in the matchday squad for their Six Nations clash with Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday.
Eddie Jones has trimmed his 30-man squad down to 24 ahead of the Calcutta Cup game and after his impressive comeback for Saracens at weekend, Vunipola will make his much awaited comeback for England – after missing three months of action with a knee injury.
The 24-year-old was injured playing against Fiji in the Autumn Internationals and has missed all four England games since then.
But in 2016 there was no doubt he was the most influential player in the side; with his destructive ball carrying, powerful defence and tireless work-rate setting the tone for the men in white.
Nathan Hughes has proved to be an able deputy in the absence of Vunipola, but England are in the privileged position of being able bring the world’s best number eight back into the side.
Jones has also retained centre Jonathan Joseph and winger Anthony Watson in his squad. Joseph had been rested for the Italy game in round three – with Ben Te’o starting at 13 alongside Owen Farrell.
But the influential Bath man looks set to be recalled to the side for this huge encounter. Watson is another player recently returning from injury and many expected him to be part of the squad to face Italy, however he was released back to Bath to improve his match sharpness.
Should England beat Scotland they will equal the longest ever winning streak (18) in Test Match history, set by New Zealand between 2015 and 2016 – which was ended by Ireland in Chicago last November.
In the final game of the Six Nations, England will travel to Dublin and Joe Schmidt’s side could be in the same position they found themselves in against the All Blacks in the Autumn.
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