Billy Vunipola ruled out of World Cup

Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika laughed off suggestions English spies have infiltrated his World Cup training camp.


Easter had been summoned by Stuart Lancaster after the Saracens No 8 Billy Vunipola was ruled out of the tournamentwith a knee ligament injury.

“We have a very prescriptive environment in the England team”. Somehow they bounced back and managed to reach the final; their 2015 counterparts would love history to be repeated. “I have an understanding of what sort of advice to give and I’d like to lend my experience if I am involved, whether it be in the 23 or the 31”, said Easter.

“I will try to impart a few previous knowledge but it’s all about 8:00pm this weekend”, added Easter, who could leapfrog fellow No 8 Ben Morgan, who has been struggling with a knee injury, into the side. It is a case of that again this weekend, with no backward step taken. There just can’t afford to be. Asked whether he believed, hand on heart, that the existing centre partnership of Sam Burgess and Brad Barritt could play attacking rugby almost as well as they perform the defensive chores, he responded by saying: “They’re capable of doing it. Wales kept giving us three points, didn’t they?” It was about getting stuck into them.

“He had his heart set on this and thought it had been taken away from him, but he didn’t sulk”.

“The most important thing for me to do is to play well”.

Easter, 37, goes straight into contention for this Saturday’s must-win clash with Australia after the other specialist number eight in England’s squad, Ben Morgan, sat out the Wales game with a knee injury.

Farrell revealed that Morgan is available for selection against Australia after resuming full training on Monday, Jonathan Joseph is progressing well and could be available, but Courtney Lawes and Ben Youngs must prove their fitness over the next two days. Easter does not reckon much of that will be necessary, being firmly of the belief that Robshaw is made of stern enough stuff to deal with the criticism of his decision not to opt for an equalising late penalty kick against Wales. That’s why he’s the second-most capped captain. There’s a reason for that.


“We know what kind of a player Billy is and what he brings to the team”. “England v Wales was huge but it’s going to be another humdinger”. There are smiles on faces – not what I was expecting at all. “If I happen to be on the pitch, it would be doubly or triply as good”.

Nick Easter