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England v Ireland: Mako Vunipola may make comeback

SportsEngland v Ireland: Mako Vunipola may make comeback

Mako Vunipola’s last Test appearance was in the 44-8 win over France in February
Rugby World Cup: England v Ireland
Venue: Twickenham, London Date: Saturday 24 August Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Coverage: Listen to online-only commentary on the BBC Sport website and app, highlights on BBC Two at 19:30 BST

England prop Mako Vunipola could make his return from a hamstring injury in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup warm-up against Ireland.

The 28-year-old had surgery after a tearing the muscle in Saracen’s Champions Cup final victory in May.

England head coach Eddie Jones also hopes to have flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill available after shoulder and toe problems respectively.

England lost away to Wales in Cardiff on Sunday in their most recent warm-up.

Vunipola’s loose-head role has been filled by Ellis Genge in both that match and the 33-19 victory over the same opposition at Twickenham six days earlier.

But first-row Vunipola, who started all three of the British and Irish Lions’ Tests in New Zealand in 2017 and has won 53 England caps, would bring considerable experience into the front row.

The meeting with Ireland comes too early for wing Jack Nowell, who is recovering from a ankle surgery, and centre Henry Slade, who has a knee complaint. Both aim to be available for England’s final World Cup warm-up against Italy on 6 September.

Mark Wilson should be in contention to face Ireland as he continues his recovery from a rib injury.

After more experimental line-ups against Wales, Jones is expected to use his remaining two warm-ups to field something closer to a full-strength XV before England’s Rugby World Cup opener against Tonga on 22 September.

Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs, Jamie George and Manu Tuilagi are among those who may be drafted into the starting XV.

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