REVEALED: England number 8 Billy Vunipola is leaving Saracens at the end of the season - Ruck

REVEALED: England number 8 Billy Vunipola is leaving Saracens at the end of the season

Top 14 strugglers Montpellier are reportedly in advanced negotiations with England rugby star Billy Vunipola for a potential move to France following the conclusion of his contract with Gallagher Premiership champions Saracens.

Join the RUCK’s WhatsApp community here and get the latest news sent straight to your messages.

The No8, who last represented England in their Rugby World Cup semi-final loss to South Africa in October, is said to have engaged in discussions with Montpellier officials via a Zoom call earlier this week, according to Rugby Pass’ transfer expert Neil Fissler.

Sources suggest that Vunipola has reached an agreement on a multi-year contract worth approximately £250,000 per season with the French club.

Born in Australia to Tongan parents, Vunipola spent his formative years in Wales and the South West of England before earning a scholarship to attend Harrow School.

During his time at Harrow, he was scouted by Wasps Academy, where he made his senior debut at the age of 18, featuring in 30 matches over two seasons before joining Saracens.

Vunipola’s impactful performances earned him recognition, including the Premiership Land Rover Discovery of the Season award during a campaign in which Saracens set a Premiership record for points accumulated in a regular term.

Having surpassed 150 appearances for Saracens in 2022, Vunipola has established himself as a vital component of the squad, both domestically and internationally.

His contributions at club level have translated to success on the international stage with England, where he made his debut during the 2013 Summer Tour of Argentina, accumulating over 60 caps since then.

Hailing from a lineage of rugby talent, Vunipola’s family ties include his father and uncle’s representation of Tonga, cousin Taulupe Faletau’s appearances for Wales and the British & Irish Lions, and brother Mako’s status as a Saracens and England teammate, alongside younger cousin Manu’s emergence in the Saracens setup during the 2018/19 season.

Saracens transfer targets:

Saracens’ director of rugby, Mark McCall, finds himself with financial resources to bolster his squad. Racing will reportedly pay around £500,000 to secure Farrell’s release from the remaining year of his contract.

Additionally, Farrell’s hefty salary of nearly £800,000 per year will be removed from Saracens’ wage bill.

However, the challenge of replacing him at fly-half is anticipated to be a formidable task for the club.

#1. Jonny May & Joe Cokanasiga

London’s Premiership champions are in the early stages of discussions with England wingers Jonny May and Joe Cokanasiga regarding a potential move to the capital at the conclusion of the season.

However, there’s no guarantee that either player will put pen to paper.

The Saracens is actively exploring options for the back three in the upcoming season, considering experienced Scotland and Lions tourist Sean Maitland, along with Alex Lewington and Ben Harris are set to leave the club.

May well and truly announced himself on the international stage with an extraordinary maiden Test try against New Zealand in November 2014.