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By Chris Jones
BBC rugby union correspondent in Oita, Japan
England number eight Billy Vunipola claims that he was not able to walk following his ankle injury from Argentina, but wishes to”construct a heritage” after being declared fit for Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against Australia.
Vunipola was driven off throughout the 39-10 Pool C hammering of the Pumas on 5 October.
However he believes the injury might have been a”blessing in disguise” because Eddie Jones’ side prepare to deal with the Wallabies.
“It is not a terrible thing,” he explained.
“It is likely given me chance to recharge the batteries a little bit”
Vunipola added on the Rugby Union Weekly podcast:”As it happened, my first thoughts were to get to half-time and see where I had been at.
“However, once I got off half-time, I could not walk! So I decided [to emerge ] with a number of the physios and with Eddie.”
Vunipola was consumed by Jones in recent months, starting four of England’s warm-up games as well as the three World Cup encounters together with both the USA, Tonga and Argentina.
“I have played a lot of rugby lately, I have had a great run [with injury], and it just happens,” he said.
“It’s probably been a fantastic little boon in disguise to have these past few weeks away my feet and it’s probably worked out in my favour – and in the group’s favour too.”
Back in 2015, Vunipola was wounded during the pool meeting by Wales, denying him the opportunity to rescue the faltering campaign, which finished with a premature departure of England.
So like many of the current squad, the game in Oita of Saturday is going to be his very first World Cup match match.
“The feeling round knockout games distinct,” he clarified.
“There’s more pressure and much more expectation. Where you want to be but it is.
“I remember clocking in [for pre-season], and I was dreading it. In the back of my head, every time we were performing difficult instruction was’this is where I want to be’ [prior to a World Cup quarter-final].
“We have a big opportunity to grasp. That is kind of the way you build your legacy, possibly by being successful or by being ineffective.”
Vunipola’s return to fitness and a return to the XV coincide for elderly brother Mako, who hasn’t begun since the Six Nations because of a hamstring injury.
And if Billy rejects the notion England are overly reliant upon the 2 allies, he admits if Mako lines up alongside him, he often raises his performance degrees.
“It’s unfair to mention my brother hold the secret to the team being successful – we simply try to add as far as we could,” he explained.
“But yeah, I’d probably say some of my best performances have been with my brother next to me. It’s no coincidence and it provides me an easy impression.
“For instance when I bought my house, he ordered everything. That is how I play football. He deals with all the admin, and now I do all the fun stuff.”
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