Billy Vunipola: England and Saracens number eight out for four months

Billy Vunipola: England and Saracens number eight out for four months”

Vunipola underwent surgery to fix his meniscus on Sunday after sustaining the cartilage injury during Sarries' 41-13 Premiership win over Sale on Saturday.

The popular No 8, whom Eddie Jones believes has the potential to be the best in the world, has had a savage time of it over the past 12 months, with a similar injury to the same knee in November 2016 requiring surgery and causing him to miss most of last season's Six Nations championship.

The Red Rose squad are due to meet in Oxford today for the start of a three-day training camp ahead of autumn internationals against Argentina, Australia and Samoa.

"It's desperately disappointing for him, considering how hard he has worked during the off-season to get back to full fitness", Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said.

It is the latest injury in a disrupted year for Vunipola after he missed four months at the start of 2017 and has only just returned from the shoulder surgery that saw him miss the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.

He has been outspoken about player welfare in recent weeks. It comes down to how much we play. "I might think I'm strong and tough but I'm not".

He injured the same knee against Argentina last November, which kept him on the sidelines for three months.

Jones has called up Jack Clifford of Harlequins to replace Vunipola in his training squad but he lacks the Saracen man's power and ball-carrying ability.

England back-row Vunipola was sent for a scan after limping out of a one-sided win for the European champions at Allianz Park in the first half.

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