Mako Vunipola: England prop to miss Ireland Six Nations game for family reasons

Mako Vunipola against Scotland

Vunipola started in the round two win over Scotland at Murrayfield

England prop Mako Vunipola will miss Sunday’s Six Nations game against Ireland after returning to Tonga for family reasons.

Vunipola, 29, was not selected for England’s opening weekend defeat by France, but started in the round two win over Scotland at Murrayfield.

Bath’s Beno Obano has been drafted into Eddie Jones’ 33-man squad as cover.

Joe Marler is set to return at loosehead prop, with Ellis Genge resuming his role as a replacement.

“If it is going to be a massive set-piece battle, Marler is the best scrummager,” England and Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care told the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast.

Meanwhile, Genge made a significant impact in Edinburgh, scoring the decisive try in the 13-6 victory.

“I think Genge is looking angry, and looking physical, and is demanding the ball and is doing some really cute things on the pitch,” added former England wing Ugo Monye.

Key centres Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade are both included in the training squad after recovering from injury.

Tuilagi is on track for a return to the side after a minor groin niggle, but Slade’s involvement is in doubt given his two-month absence with a fractured ankle.


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)


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)

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