Sportsbeat talks to Will Greenwood
May 22 2019
NO Mako Vunipola, no problem – that’s the view of Rugby World Cup winner Will Greenwood who reckons the prop’s three-month injury layoff could be a blessing in disguise. The Saracens star will sit out his club’s Gallagher Premiership run-in with a hamstring issue, set to keep him on the sidelines for three months. Eddie Jones can rest easy as far as Greenwood is concerned, despite the fact Vunipola might miss all of England’s four World Cup warm-up matches over the summer.
“Mako has missed most of the season anyway so as long as he’s alright for the World Cup, we’ll be fine,” said Greenwood, speaking on behalf of NatWest, the Official Banking Partner of England Rugby.
“Richard Barrington has played most of the games at loosehead this season for Saracens.
“Richard played 51 minutes of the Champions Cup final and Mako played 29 minutes, came up against Tadhg Furlong and did alright.
“You clearly want to pick from all available players but no team ever picks from a fully-fit squad.
“It might be a little silver lining – keep him out of trouble, get his rehab done, miss the first couple of warm-up games, play against Italy in Newcastle and turn up for the World Cup fresh.”
The 28-year-old tyro remains England’s man for the big occasion, making 25 tackles in a man-of-the-match display against Ireland in their defining Six Nations triumph. Vunipola suffered ankle ligament damage in the second-round victory over France and his brief appearance in the Champions Cup final was only his second match since then.
It would seem his ongoing absence provides a window of opportunity for fellow looseheads Ben Moon and Ellis Genge, who have both enjoyed Test game time in recent months. But Greenwood, speaking at a coaching day with players from the NatWest Grassroots Barbarians at Leicester Forest RFC, poured cold water on their chances of earning a starting place.
“They’d carry Mako in a squad because he’s world-class,” said Greenwood. “They should train and assume Mako is going to the World Cup because there’s no reason to think on the back of this he won’t be going. “You have to look after your own training, regime, diet, sleep, exercise and hydration without any thoughts about what other people are doing.”
NatWest is the Official Banking Partner of England Rugby.
This year NatWest RugbyForce is making it easier for grassroots clubs to access rugby through its NatWest Grassroots Barbarians initiative, offering grassroots players the chance to play at Twickenham on June 9th. @NatWest_Rugbypqs: qs:
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