Vunipola admits improvement needed

25 February 2021 01:12:48 GMTPlus10

Number eight Billy Vunipola says his performances must improve as England prepare to face Wales at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

England already have their work cut out to retain their Six Nations crown having lost one of their opening two matches.

Eddie Jones' men suffered a shock defeat in their Six Nations curtain-raiser against Scotland, who claimed a first win at Twickenham since 1983 when triumphing 11-6.

England had been favourites to win the tournament but, with France having kicked off their campaign with an emphatic 50-10 romp over Italy, their chances appear to be much slimmer.

The defending champions responded to the Scotland setback with a routine 41-18 victory at home to tournament minnows Italy, but there are tougher tests to come.

England travel to Wales, who are two from two after wins over Ireland and Scotland, this weekend and Vunipola insists he needs to put in a big display.

The Saracens man, who has been capped 58 times for his country, accepts he hasn't been anywhere near as influential as he should have been so far.

Speaking to The Guardian, he said: "I've just been playing rubbish, I can't lie and I need to turn up this weekend.

"At the moment Eddie probably thinks someone has cloned me. The person he thought he had in his team is at home and the other person is here.

"I need to make sure he's got the right clone because, at the moment, he's had the wrong one."

A lack of recent club rugby for Saracens has not helped Vunipola, who has scored just two tries in his last 25 Test starts, dating back to 2017.

England are 4/9 to win in Wales, the hosts are 7/4.

Jones's side are 100/1 to defend their Six Nations crown, with France 6/4 and Wales 8/15.

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