Billy Vunipola looks forward to working under new England coach Eddie Jones. Saracens back row Billy Vunipola is relishing the prospect of working with new England coach Eddie Jones.
The 23-year-old is expecting some tough training sessions as the squad prepares for the Six Nations, which starts on February 6.
Jones is talking to Jonny Wilkinson over the possibility of adding the World Cup winner to his coaching team on an informal basis, and the Australian has already made his intentions clear to work the players
Vunipola will start at No 8 against Scotland on February 6 but must first endure two weeks of preparation at the squad’s Surrey training base while recalling the effort it took to shed seven kilograms during last summer’s World Cup training camp.
“I’m not too sure how to read Eddie Jones at the moment. He’s very direct, from what I’ve heard, and that probably could be his best asset,” Vunipola said.
“Hopefully he will take us forward and I’m looking forward to working with him and the coaches he has appointed.
“I’ve spoken to him on the phone and the few things he has told me to work on I’m doing my best to improve.
“There is an excitement, but there is also a lot of hard work ahead. He has mentioned what is to come himself, so I’m a bit nervous about what that is and whether it’s mental or physical.
“What scares me the most is that Denver last summer was my breaking point, so if he takes us to that place again it is not going to be fun at all! But I definitely won’t be complaining.”
Vunipola has battled to win a place in the England back row with Ben Morgan, and now he has to contend with a challenge from Jack Clifford.
The two played for England at junior level and it was Clifford who kept Vunipola out of the team during the 2012 World Rugby U20 World Championship, although the Saracen has since won 23 caps while his rival has yet to make his Test debut.
“Jack can make the step up. I played in the same team as him in the age groups and I couldn’t get into the team,” Vunipola said.
“Whether it is at six, seven or eight, he is a very good player. He has got a bit of everything and his strength is in his speed. I’m sure when he gets his chance he’ll do really well.
“I wouldn’t say it is a rivalry because we have always tried to help each other. He is a great guy, but it was the same with me and Ben Morgan when we went into camp and were trying to get into the team.”