England are well ready to risk beginning Billy Vunipola throughout the build-up into the World Cup in the belief he is at his best when playing regularly.
Vunipola is Eddie Jones’ 31-man squad’s sole member who will have begun all four Tests this summer after the Saracens number eight was retained in Newcastle for Friday night’s game against Italy – live on Sky Sports.
Given his latest profession – including three arms at 2018 – sending among Jones’ players might be regarded as a bet.
But forwards coach Steve Borthwick insists that banking as game moments is vital for its 26-year-old as they seem to construct momentum before the World Cup.
“Billy absolutely wants to playwith. He’s a player who thrives on playing – that is how you get the best out of him,” Borthwick said.
“He loves playing with the game and does not want to overlook any. Have a look at the back row – we’ve had some knocks and bruises. It is about what’s appropriate for every single participant.”
Vunipola’s Saracens team-mate Owen Farrell, who’ll lead out England at St James’ Park, shares the view of Borthwick.
“Billy has been playing very well and is attempting to keep it going. He loves putting the ball from his own hands,” Farrell explained.
“It is very important for him to be playing in the games where we have been involved over the last four months. He has got a huge smile on his face for this.”
Vunipola made his own feelings clear after Ireland was thrashed.
“I am more than delighted to keep going. After all of my harms and time off from the match, I am just happy to be playing at close to the level I had been operating at earlier,” Vunipola stated.
“It is about maintaining on building my fitnesscenter. If I could be fit and strong, I will help the team.”
Watch England vs Italy dwell on Main Event and Sky Sports Action from 7pm on Friday

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