Billy Vunipola 'likely' to be fit for England's quarter-final against Australia

Billy Vunipola needs two more games to complete 50-Test milestone
Billy Vunipola needs two more games to complete 50-Test milestone
©PA

England defence coach John Mitchell believes Saracens back-row Billy Vunipola is likely to be fit for the World Cup quarter-final against Australia to be played in Oita on Saturday.

Vunipola suffered an ankle injury during the first half of their game against Argentina and has been sidelined since then. The 26-year-old has been a key member of Eddie Jones' squad and has returned to training according to Mitchell.

"Billy is progressing really well," Mitchell said.

"He has trained again today and we are very confident in his progression each day. He's very likely [to be available].

"Billy is a very important player to us and a very likeable player as well. He fits well within the team.

"He loves the ball in his hand. He is very good at regaining and retaining momentum. He likes carrying the ball which is where he has his greatest influence."

However, Jack Nowell is unlikely to be fit for the high-profile encounter after picking up a hamstring injury during the game against the Pumas. The 26-year-old had a tough time with injuries as he recovered from ankle surgery and also was forced to have his appendix removed but another injury is likely to keep him on the sidelines again.

"Jack wasn't at training today. He is on another prescription of training and is also progressing," Mitchell added.

The last time England and Australia met in a World Cup game was in 2011 when Cheika's men completed a 13-33 win but since then the red rose team have registered six successive wins over the Wallabies.

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