England has called up Nick Easter of Harlequins as a permanent replacement for Billy Vunipola. Saracens eighthman Vunipola suffered a knee ligament strain during Saturday’s Rugby World Cup 2015 game against Wales and had a scan on Monday. Easter joined up with the squad on Monday and England head coach Stuart Lancaster says: ‘It’s unfortunate for Billy but the scan shows an injury which will likely require up to six weeks recovery. He has worked really hard and committed everything to the last three months but he is a young man with a bright future ahead of him and he will be an integral part of this team for years to come. Nick was unlucky to miss out on final selection. He is a specialist number eight and an experienced player and we know he will make a big contribution.’
The English are in trouble after going down 28-25 to the Welsh on Saturday leaving their World Cup campaign in the balance. The hosts must defeat Australia and Uruguay to ensure a quarter-final berth. A defeat to the Wallabies will eliminate Lancaster’s lot and cause England to become the first host nation in World Cup history to be eliminated in the group stages.
Photo credit: RFU Collection