August 21, 2019 / 4:43 AM / a month ago

Fit-again Vunipola eager for England return against Ireland

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - England Training - Pennyhill Park Hotel, Bagshot, Britain - August 8, 2019 England's Mako Vunipola during training Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

(Reuters) - England prop Mako Vunipola is yearning to make his long-awaited comeback in Saturday’s World Cup warm-up match against Ireland after recovering form a hamstring injury that had sidelined him for three months.

Vunipola was injured in Saracens’ Champions Cup final win over Leinster in May and the 28-year-old required surgery that ruled him out for the rest of the domestic season.

England coach Eddie Jones is yet to announce his squad for the match in London but the experienced Vunipola, who has 53 international caps, is hoping to get some minutes under his belt ahead of his second World Cup.

“I have been very excited the last two weeks watching the boys play and now I just want to get out there and help them play rugby,” Vunipola told BBC Sport.

“I’m excited if I do get the chance to be out there and experience it all once again. You take things for granted when you are a bit younger.

“I remember before the last Rugby World Cup thinking I would have loads more of these. This (injury) has changed my mindset, realising it could all be taken away.”

Vunipola has struggled with injuries of late, with an ankle injury ruling him out of the final three Six Nations matches earlier this year, but not before a man-of-the-match performance in a 32-20 win over Ireland in Dublin where he made 27 tackles.

After Ireland’s visit, England host Italy in their final warm-up game on Sept. 6 before flying to Japan. They begin their World Cup campaign against Pool C opponents Tonga on Sept. 22.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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