Vunipola: There are no such thing as untouchables in England squad


ngland prop Mako Vunipola has dismissed the accusation that Eddie Jones has a bunch of untouchables in his Six Nations squad.

A host of key and experienced players have been criticised for a dip in form in the tournament but have kept their places despite England winning just once in three games in the defence of their title.

Jones has been accused of relying too heavily on established names but Vunipola, himself with 65 caps to his name and a stalwart under Jones, said: “I don’t know who these untouchables are.

“There’s no such thing as untouchables. When you have a captain as Faz [Owen Farrell], there is the perception that they’re undroppable.

“But the way that we’re picked is the way you are on the field in training and around the park and the environment. I’ve been in and around the squad, and nothing is taken for granted. Eddie is not afraid to make big calls. We understand that as players.”

England aim to get their Six Nations ambitions back on track against a resurgent France at Twickenham on Saturday, a team Vunipola labelled “one of if not the best in Europe on current form”.

Following the latest defeat to Wales, Jones said he had had a number of England players ring him about issues of indiscipline – England have conceded 41 penalties in their opening three games of the tournament.

Vunipola said: “I didn’t ring him but I should have done. The penalties I gave away were very silly.”

England have worked closely on their discipline in camp all week under the watchful eye of referees Wayne Barnes and Matt Carley.

And England’s loosehead said: “There’s been some good learning but it comes back to individual responsibility, understanding the context of the game and where we can improve. The best thing is how we react. We’ve got a great opportunity against a good French side.”

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