Mako Vunipola lauds brother Billy for ‘massive’ impact on title-chasing Saracens

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Mako Vunipola has hailed the “massive” influence of his brother and fellow England international Billy on Saracens this season.

Mako was named in an England training squad last month, but number eight Billy continues to be overlooked by Red Rose boss Eddie Jones.

They have 128 caps between them, yet neither player has featured for their country since the final game of last year’s Six Nations.

Billy Vunipola
Billy Vunipola (left) in Premiership action for Saracens (Yui Mok/PA)

Both will be in the shop window on Saturday, though, when Saracens tackle Gallagher Premiership final opponents Leicester 48 hours before Jones announces his squad for three Tests against Australia next month.

“The key for us is to make sure we focus on the present, what is in front of us in terms of playing well for Saracens, which I feel he has done, and that is all he can do,” Mako said.

“As rugby players, we are emotional, we want to be playing, we still want to be playing for England. To do that hasn’t changed,

“We’ve still got to play well for our club and do our job, and then you go from there, really. Those decisions (selection) aren’t in our hands.

“I am a bit biased, obviously, but for us this year he has been massive, just giving us that go-forward that we need.

“Whenever there is a need for us to get a kick up the backside, he is there most of the time to do it.”

Saracens return to English rugby’s showpiece domestic occasion after being relegated from the Premiership in 2020 following repeated salary cap breaches.

They are chasing a sixth league title, while they featured in five out of six Premiership finals prior to departing the top flight.

“You never take these big games for granted – we’ve learnt that in the past, having been involved in a few and lost,” Mako Vunipola added.

“Being a bit older now, I understand how hard it is to get here and how it is even harder to win it. The over-riding feeling is excitement.

“Obviously, the club has been through a lot and it has been well-documented what has happened in the last two years.

“But that is the past now, and we’ve got to move on.

“The emotions are there, and we have just got to go out there and play the game in front of us, not think too much and whatever will happen, will happen.”

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