Sam Warburton selects his England back-row for the Rugby World Cup - Ruck

Sam Warburton selects his England back-row for the Rugby World Cup

Sam Warburton believes that England requires the presence of Billy Vunipola and his “physical brutality” to enhance their World Cup campaign.

Warburton, the former captain of Wales, supports the decision made by England’s head coach, Steve Borthwick, to include Vunipola in their World Cup training squad, even though the powerful Saracens player is still recuperating from a knee injury.

Warburton’s England back-row

  • 6. Tom Curry
  • 7. Jack Willis
  • 8. Billy Vunipola

“If Billy Vunipola can hit the form that we know he can play at then he will be important for England,” Warburton told Standard Sport.

“It does feel like England miss his physicality. And I say that having run into him. Jesus Christ, I know what the man brings! And England have missed that.


“If England had two locks where their game was to be brutally physical, then maybe they wouldn’t be crying out so much to have a player like Billy. But because there’s maybe not that brutality, not many players can bring that level of physical brutality that Billy Vunipola can bring.

“I think a fully-fit Billy Vunipola would make his way into a lot of teams in the world, and he has a huge impact on England.

“If not Billy I think you have to make sure you have that balance of physicality around your pack elsewhere, and you can bring in other players at No8 who maybe don’t display the same physical dominance as Billy Vunipola.

“But I think if you haven’t got many other players like that in your pack, then I think you are really trying to keep Billy fit so that he can bring that for you in your front eight.”

England teammate says he and Owen Farrell dislike each other 

England fly-half Owen Farrell is never afraid of sharing an opinion or two – especially when it’s about someone he doesn’t particularly like.

#1. Dave Attwood

Former England lock Attwood has opened up on the latest RugbyPass Offload about his ongoing rivalry with Owen Farrell.

The Bath lock won the last of his 24 caps for England back in 2016, which could have a lot to do with his relationship with the current England captain.

He revealed: “On the pitch, I struggle a lot with Owen Farrell. We just don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things,

“He hates me with a passion. Despite my earthy roots, he thinks I am a posh c***. He hates that. I bagged rugby league once jovially. I was saying it to take the piss kind of thing, ‘a bloody sport for the peasants’. He f**kin’ hated it.”

“He had a bit of a shout at me and went off to the toilet and I followed him.

“We all had a drink or two after the game but we didn’t need to get carried away with this. I was in the urinal behind the door and he was three or four down and as I got in his dad walked in as well, he was coaching at the time. He was, ‘I don’t want to fuckin’ hear it’ or something like that and as he walked out he went to open the door and slam it into the back of me. There was like a stop on the floor so it hit the stop and almost clocked him back…

“We never really addressed it after that. That was where it started and it was like a drunken little bit of argy that went too far. He is an incredibly competitive athlete and he is also very f**kin’ good, he has got high standards. He is a very competitive athlete and in order to be that good, you have to flirt on the wrong side of competitive.

“So whenever we play each other there is always some element in the game where one of us is running at the other one or we are trying to bang each other. There always seems to be an element of that to it. I am sure he is like, I don’t even know that Dave is playing.”