Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Billy Breaks through but Knows It Is Vital He Does Not Let Up

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Billy Breaks through but Knows It Is Vital He Does Not Let Up

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones Rugby Correspondent

BILLY VUNIPOLA has challenged himself to repeat the barnstorming performance that took England to within touching distance of victory over France and confirmed his emergence as a world--class ball carrier.

The rave reviews for the Saracens No8 have not reduced the pain of a late 26--24 loss and he knows club--mate Kelly Brown, the Scotland captain, is uniquely equipped to deal with him when the teams clash at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Brown's side are smarting from a 28--6 beating by Ireland in Dublin and they will target a home game against the Auld Enemy as yet another chance for rugby redemption.

Vunipola changed his game after being taught a lesson by the Toulouse pack during Sarries' Heineken Cup loss last month and, against France, the No8 avoided being dragged into a wres- tling match with opposite number Louis Picamoles as he put in his most accomplished Test performance.

"If I am picked for Scotland I will have to prove myself again and if I don't then we all saw how well Ben Morgan played in Paris, breaking tackles and making good yards," said Vunipola. "I can't rest easy or else Ben will take over.

"I was able to bring my game to the international stage and that was always the aim. Having been able to put Luther [Burrell] into a hole for the try I can continue to do that in the champion- ship. I like Test rugby because I go into every game aiming to prove people wrong and the coaches right. If I rest, I will be left behind and it's a massive challenge that I really enjoy.

"Taking on Kenny would be great because he is a fantastic guy and I am sure he will be looking out for me as we play together every week and he knows what I do."

Vunipola emerged from a frustrated dressing room believing England are in danger of becoming the "nearly men" of Test rugby after creating win- ning opportunities in their last two games with New Zealand and France. …

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