Mako Vunipola of Saracens named in England squad for autumn Tests

 

Uncapped Saracens prop Mako Vunipola, 21, has been named in England's squad for the autumn internationals.

He joins the 32-man squad alongside the uncapped Tom Youngs and recalled Ugo Monye and James Haskell.

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Mako has come through our age grade sides and made a real impact at Saracens

Stuart Lancaster England boss

Tom Wood and Courtney Lawes both return after missing the South African tour in the summer through injury.

Boss Stuart Lancaster has opted not to select any France-based players in his 32-man squad for the four Tests, which begin against Fiji on 10 November.

That means in-form Toulon open-side flanker Steffon Armitage misses out.

"It's great to be able to give Mako a chance in the squad. He has come through our age grade sides and made a real impact at Saracens," said Lancaster.

"Likewise Tom Youngs, who was with us on tour in South Africa, and we know what James Haskell and Ugo Monye are capable of if they get their opportunity."

The England head coach was forced into changes by injuries to Ben Foden, Tom Croft, Alex Corbisiero and Rob Webber, and the retirement of Charlie Hodgson, Matt Stevens and Lee Mears.

New Zealand-born Vunipola, whose father Fe'ao played for Tonga at the 1995 and 1999 World Cups, takes the place of loose-head Corbisiero in the squad.

England's autumn Test schedule

10 Nov: Fiji, Twickenham

17 Nov: Australia, Twickenham

24 Nov: South Africa, Twickenham

1 Dec: New Zealand, Twickenham

Vunipola has represented England at Under-18 and Under-20 level and has a younger brother, Billy, who plays for Wasps.

Mako's call-up also raises the prospect that he could one day come up against his Welsh international back-row cousin, Tongan-born Toby Faletau.

London Irish player Corbisiero needed surgery on a knee injury sustained in South Africa in the summer.

Monye won the last of his 13 England caps against Scotland in March 2010 but was part of last summer's tour to South Africa.

However, hamstring injuries kept him out of the first two Tests before he was knocked unconscious in the tour's final midweek game, against the South African Barbarians.

The 29-year-old, a British and Irish Lion in 2009, was subsequently left out of the elite player squad but has made a good start to the season, scoring four tries for Harlequins.

Who is Mako Vunipola?

  • Born 13/1/1991 Wellington, New Zealand
  • 1998 - relocates to Wales after father Fe'ao signs for Pontypool
  • 2009-10 season - makes Bristol debut after progressing through club's academy
  • 2010 - promoted to England Under-20 squad
  • March 2011 - part of England Under-20 side that wins the Grand Slam
  • July 2011 - joins Saracens after 33 appearances for Bristol, including five tries
  • 2011-12 season - broken metatarsal and hamstring injury restrict him to 11 club appearances

Haskell was also part of England's squad in South Africa, having spent time playing in Japan and New Zealand.

Uncapped Leicester hooker Youngs, 25, is the older brother of England scrum-half Ben and takes over from Webber, who is recovering from a shoulder problem, as cover for Northampton's Dylan Hartley.

Northampton full-back Foden is out with a damaged ankle, while Leicester's Croft is out with a neck injury.

Rowntree vows England will surprise

England face Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand at Twickenham over consecutive weekends, starting from 10 November.

Meanwhile, England will name their captain for the November internationals on Tuesday.

Harlequins flanker Chris Robshaw captained the side in the Six Nations and during the June tour of South Africa.

The 32-man squad will gather for a training camp at St George's Park, Burton, on Sunday night.

Forwards:

Props: Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath Rugby). Hookers: Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers). Locks: Mouritz Botha (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Tom Palmer (London Wasps), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers). Back-rows: James Haskell (London Wasps), Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints).

Backs:

Full-backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Alex Goode (Saracens). Wings: Chris Ashton (Saracens), Ugo Monye (Harlequins), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby). Centres: Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (London Irish), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins). Fly-halves: Owen Farrell (Saracens), Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers). Scrum-halves: Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).