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Six Nations: Vunipola brothers ‘aim higher’ as Billy set for England return

Billy Vunipola, right, is set to feature for England against Scotland while Mako, left, played against Italy
England v Scotland on the BBC
Date: Saturday, 11 March Venue: Twickenham Stadium Kick-off: 16:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live & BBC Radio Scotland, plus live text commentary via the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app

England prop Mako Vunipola believes he and brother Billy can come back better than ever after their injury lay-offs.

The pair were outstanding for England throughout 2016, but both missed the first part of the Six Nations with knee problems.

Mako made his return off the bench against Italy while number eight Billy will face Scotland this weekend.

“The challenge is not to be reaching the same levels, it’s to go higher,” Mako told BBC Radio 5 live.

“Billy has come back in and trained well, and his knee is looking good. He actually looks a lot better than me, so fair play to him.”

Mako says the brothers’ Tongan heritage means staying in good physical shape while injured is a challenge.

“It’s probably the gene, being Tongan doesn’t help,” Mako explained.

“It’s always a thing with me where I have to keep on top of my diet, and I am getting as much help as I can.

“We have [England rugby nutrition consultant] Graeme Close who keeps a close watch on me.

“Definitely with age it’s got better, but it’s definitely still a work-on for me. I have given up chocolate for Lent, chocolate is probably one of my guilty pleasures.”

Billy made his return for Saracens three weeks ahead of schedule, playing more than 70 minutes in Sunday’s win over Newcastle.

“He was a bit grumpy when he was injured, so it’s good for him to get back in the mix,” Mako said of his brother.

“He was always confident he was going to come back quicker, but I was worried he was going to push himself too much.

“But his knee is looking good, it doesn’t look like he has missed much. He has a smile on his face.”

Listen to England v Scotland on BBC Radio 5 live, 16:00 GMT on Saturday, 11 March.


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