Billy Vunipola lines up move to former boss Eddie Jones' Japan team

EXCLUSIVE: Billy Vunipola lines up move to former boss Eddie Jones’ Japan team Tokyo Sungoliath after Steve Borthwick leaves the 30-year-old out of his first squad as England head coach

  • Jones has a long-standing consultancy deal with Tokyo Sungoliath in Japan
  • Vunipola has an option to leave Saracens at the end of the current season
  • Borthwick has vowed to ‘keep things simple’ as he settled into his new role 

Billy Vunipola is considering a move to Japan that would reunite him with former England boss Eddie Jones.

The No8 has an option to leave Saracens at the end of the season and could land a huge contract if he opts for a move to South-East Asia.

Tokyo Sungoliath, who have a long-standing consultancy deal with Jones, are understood to be considering the move.

Billy Vunipolahas an option to leave Saracens at the end of the season and could go to Japan

Tokyo Sungoliath have a long-standing consultancy deal with former England boss Eddie Jones and could make a move

Their No8 Tevita Tatafu is leaving for Bordeaux at the end of the campaign and Vunipola is being touted as a potential replacement. Saracens coach Mark McCall reiterated last week that Vunipola is under contract for the 2023-24 season but his outlook may change after the signing of Tom Willis.

Vunipola was one of Jones’s most trusted lieutenants during his seven years as England coach, earning 47 caps under the Australian.

But he was left out of Steve Borthwick’s first England squad this week, with Alex Dombrandt and Sam Simmonds picked ahead of the 30-year-old. Borthwick said: ‘I had a conversation with Billy and Mark McCall and I don’t think it is right to discuss private conversations. Billy is an incredibly high-quality player, we all know that. The back row has a lot of competition, seven and eight in particular we have a lot of competition.’

Saracens coach Mark McCall has reiterated that Vunipola is still under contract next season

The No8 was however dropped from England coach Steve Borthwick’s first international squad

Jones will continue working with Sungoliath in his new role as Australia coach and revealed yesterday that he remains open to assisting England players in the spirit of cooperation. He told the Daily Mail: ‘There was one player recently – I won’t name him – who asked for my opinion on something and I gave it to him.’

Borthwick’s England squad will gather at Pennyhill Park tomorrow as they begin preparations for the Six Nations.

With limited time to pull together his new team, Borthwick revealed that he has scrapped plans for the team’s training camps in Portugal and France. He said: ‘I have changed the Six Nations plans. The plan was due to be overseas a few times in the Six Nations, we are going to be in England.

‘We are going to be working. I’m not saying anything about previous plans, but I am saying “What do we need to do? We need to get on the training field, start building some relationships on the training field, start building how we are going to play and build the team we want”.

‘I keep things pretty simple. I like a tight group of people around the team, making plans for the team as simple as possible to give the players the best chance to bring their strengths on to the pitch. We are going to come into camp and start training straight away to build this team.’

Borthwick has insisted he will ‘keep things pretty simple’ as he settles into his new role




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