Billy Vunipola lines up move to former boss Eddie Jones’ Japan team Tokyo Sungoliath


EXCLUSIVE: Billy Vunipola moves to former boss Eddie Jones’ Japanese side, Tokyo Sungoliath, after Steve Borthwick leaves the 30-year-old out of his first team as England head coach.

  • Jones has a long-standing consulting contract with Tokyo Sungoliath in Japan
  • Vunipola has the option to leave Saracens at the end of the current season
  • Borthwick has vowed to ‘keep things simple’ as he has settled into his new role

Billy Vunipola is considering a move to Japan that would reunite him with former England boss Eddie Jones.

The number 8 has the option to leave Saracens at the end of the season and could land a big contract if he opts to move to South East Asia.

Tokyo Sungoliath, which has a long-standing consulting contract with Jones, is understood to be considering the move.

Billy Vunipola has the option to leave Saracens at the end of the season and could go to Japan

Tokyo Sungoliath has a long-standing consultancy deal with former England boss Eddie Jones and could make a move

His number 8, Tevita Tatafu, leaves for Bordeaux at the end of the campaign and Vunipola is being touted as a potential replacement. Saracens coach Mark McCall reiterated last week that Vunipola is under contract for the 2023-24 season, but the outlook for him may change after the signing of Tom Willis.

Vunipola was one of Jones’ most trusted lieutenants during his seven years as England manager, making 47 caps for the Australian.

But he was left out of Steve Borthwick’s England first team this week, with Alex Dombrandt and Sam Simmonds chosen before the 30-year-old. Borthwick said: ‘I had a conversation with Billy and Mark McCall and I don’t think it’s right to discuss private conversations. Billy is an incredible quality player, we all know that. The back line has a lot of competition, seven and eight in particular we have a lot of competition.’

Saracens manager Mark McCall has reiterated that Vunipola is still under contract next season

However, the number 8 was dropped from England manager Steve Borthwick’s first international team.

Jones will continue to work with Sungoliath in his new role as Australia manager and revealed yesterday that he remains open to helping England players in a spirit of cooperation. He told the Daily Mail: “There was a player recently – I won’t name him – who asked my opinion on something and I gave it to him.”

Borthwick’s England team will meet at Pennyhill Park tomorrow to begin preparations for the Six Nations.

With limited time to assemble his new team, Borthwick revealed that he has scrapped plans for the team’s training camps in Portugal and France. He said: ‘I have changed the plans of the Six Nations. The plan was to be abroad several times in the Six Nations, we are going to be in England.

‘We will be working. I’m not saying anything about previous plans, but I’m saying “What do we have to do? We need to go into training camp, start building some relationships in training camp, start building how we’re going to play and build the team we want.”

I keep things pretty simple. I like a tight group of people around the team, making the plans for the team as simple as possible to give the players the best opportunity to bring their strengths to the field. We’re going to come to camp and start training right away to build this team.

Borthwick has insisted that he will “keep things pretty simple” as he adjusts to his new role.

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