England 'cautiously optimistic' over Vunipola despite brief return at Twickenham

England 'cautiously optimistic' over Vunipola despite brief return at Twickenham

Eddie Jones is hopeful England prop Mako Vunipola did not suffer a serious injury setback when his return to action was cut short against Ireland.


The Saracens front row was ruled out for three months with a hamstring problem in May, meaning he was playing for the first time since the injury on Saturday, a matter of weeks before the Rugby World Cup.

But Vunipola failed to finish the game after coming on as a replacement, prompting fears of a major issue ahead of the tournament in Japan.

Coach Jones was unsure of the extent of the problem but stayed optimistic after an impressive 57-15 win at Twickenham.

"He just felt his hamstring a little bit," Jones told Sky Sports. "We're not sure how serious it is. We're cautiously optimistic he'll be okay."

There was a moment of concern for Ireland, too, with Cian Healy hobbling off shortly before half-time after receiving treatment for an ankle problem.

And there was also a head injury assessment (HIA) for Conor Murray, who briefly came back on before being withdrawn.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt was positive, though, saying: "Conor passed his HIA, he was fine.

"We had a bit of a breakdown in communication - I wasn't going to put him back on, so that was a slip-up on our behalf and we got him off.

"Cian's had an x-ray and the ankle is normal. He sprained it and was pretty uncomfortable. The good news is he did walk from the pitch, so hopefully that's a little bit of promise for us."

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