No 8 Billy Vunipola was well below par in England’s opening defeat by Scotland and did not impress in their 41-18 win over Italy and was replaced in both matches; England face Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
Last Updated: 24/02/21 8:03am
England’s Billy Vunipola says he has been a shadow of his former self in this year’s Six Nations and is determined to deliver an improved display on Saturday against Wales in Cardiff.
The No 8 was well below par in England’s opening defeat by Scotland and did not impress in their 41-18 win over Italy and was replaced in both matches.
“I’ve just been playing rubbish and I need to turn up this weekend,” the 28-year-old said, adding that he felt like “a bit of a coward” as he had been hiding from being fatigued.
“Because of my lack of game time, I am trying to put myself in positions where I don’t have to run as much … but if you are doing that, you are holding back,” he added.
“(Coach) Eddie (Jones) probably thinks someone has cloned me. The person he thought he had in his team is at home and the other person is here. I need to make sure he’s got the right clone because at the moment he’s had the wrong one.”
Vunipola said being in a ‘bubble’, away from his wife and four-month-old son had been tough and affected his performance in training, which had an impact on how he had played.
“I was sat in my room thinking: ‘This COVID stuff is rubbish. I just want to be at home with my wife. I was almost feeling sorry for myself,” he added.
England are third in the Six Nations standings with six points from two games, while Wales are second with nine.