Billy Vunipola is back in the Saracens match squad after nearly four months out with a broken arm for the clash with London Irish on Sunday.
With Wasps No8 Nathan Hughes already ruled out of the three test England tour to South Africa in June, the return of Vunipola is great news for England and Saracens who can clinch a home Aviva Premiership play-off with victory over London Irish.
Northampton’s Courtney Lawes is also out of the tour leaving Eddie Jones, the England head coach, short of international class ball carriers and that is why he is set to include Hurricanes captain Brad Shield when he names the tour squad next month.
Vunipola broke his arm in Saracens European Champions Cup pool match with Ospreys in January having just got back from the shoulder operation that forced him to pull out of the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.
Mark Mc Call the Saracens director of rugby said:“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 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.”
Springbok prop Vincent Koch is also back for Saracens after injury .