Mako Vunipola ruled out of England vs Ireland Six Nations clash due to family reasons

Jack de Menezes
Mako Vunipola will miss England's Six Nations clash with Ireland after travelling to Tonga for family reasons: Getty

Mako Vunipola has been ruled out of England’s Six Nations encounter this Sunday against Ireland after the Saracens prop travelled to Tonga due to personal reasons.

Eddie Jones named a 33-man squad for their third match of this year’s Six Nations, with Vunipola the notable omission.

The 29-year-old was rested for the opening Six Nations encounter against France, with his return coinciding with England getting back to winning ways last time out against Scotland two weeks ago, but his absence is a sizeable loss to their hopes as they are already without his younger brother Billy Vunipola due to a broken arm.

With the loosehead prop unavailable and definitely out of this weekend’s Twickenham encounter, Bath’s Beno Obano is handed a recall to join Ellis Genge and Joe Marler in the squad, with the former pushing for his first Six Nations start against a side other than Italy.

Courtney Lawes returns to the squad after being rested from last week’s training camp in Kensington, while both Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade remain in contention to return from injury, having continued their rehabilitation from groin and ankle issues last week.

Tuilagi was forced off inside the opening 16 minutes in Paris after suffering a groin strain in the 24-17 loss to France earlier this month, while Slade has not played since fracturing his ankle while on Exeter Chiefs duty last December.

However, the pair were partnered together for England’s memorable victory over Ireland last year that proved the catalyst for their impressive run of form that took them to the Rugby World Cup final, and Jones may not be against throwing them both into the squad to face Ireland in the hope that they can prove the key to stopping Andy Farrell’s Grand Slam-chasing side.

Young Northampton Saints scrum-half Alex Mitchell remains with the squad as an apprentice player, with the 22-year-old highly rated by Jones as a potential star of the future.

England’s 33-man squad

Forwards

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby), Ben Earl (Saracens), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Beno Obano (Bath Rugby), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Will Stuart (Bath Rugby), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)

Backs

Elliot Daly (Saracens), Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), George Furbank (Northampton Saints), Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Jacob Umaga (Wasps), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Apprentice player

Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)


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