Billy Vunipola aims for England return after omission in Six Nations

Billy Vunipola has played for England 68 times
Billy Vunipola has played for England 68 times

Saracens star Billy Vunipola says he is aiming to make it to the England squad for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France despite not featuring in this year's Six Nations tournament.

Vunipola, who was not part of Eddie Jones' plan for most part of the last season made a comeback during the summer tour of Australia but had a tough autumn international campaign.

The 30-year-old did not feature for England during the recently concluded Six Nations tournament under Steve Borthwick as Harlequins' Alex Dombrandt was preferred at number eight.

Nevertheless, Vunipola gave a strong powerful performance for his club Saracens as he helped them beat Dombrandt's Harlequins 36-24 last weekend to secure a home play-off in the ongoing Premiership campaign.

“I got it wrong, I felt I became very selfish in wanting to force myself back into the team,” he said.

“I’ve seen a better way to do it is to help others around me, who in turn help me. It’s not tennis, I can’t go out there and solely affect the game by myself. I’ve got to do my work within the team structures.”

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall lavished praise on Vunipola for his strong response on the field after being dropped from the squad.

"It can be frustrating for an international, and Billy was disappointed of course not to be in the squad,” said McCall. “But he threw himself in and helped the younger players.”

Vunipola also insisted that he is still determined to feature for England despite a "very honest" conversation with Borthwick on why he was not picked for the Six Nations.

“It's tough being at games, knowing you've not been picked,” he added

“Doing that [corporate] would feel like almost accepting my fate and saying I’m fine with this. It's not my job to commentate. I'm still playing, and I want to play.”

England finished the Six Nations tournament at fourth place after managing two wins from five matches.