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Billy Vunipola return is huge for England, says Jonathan Joseph

England centre Jonathan Joseph believes the return of Billy Vunipola will give the team a "huge lift" when they attempt to equal a world record against Scotland on Saturday.

The 25-year-old is also confident Owen Farrell will be passed fit to play in the RBS 6 Nations encounter at Twickenham.

Joseph will start England's pursuit of a record-equalling 18th successive Test victory at 13.

In a campaign in which they have started slowly, Vunipola's selection as a replacement after his three-month absence following knee surgery could be particularly crucial, and Joseph shares Dylan Hartley's positivity surrounding the number eight's recall.

"Yeah, it's huge, it's massive," he said when asked of Vunipola's availability. "He's a great leader of us as well.

"The kind of impact he's going to bring is huge for us, it'll lift the team. The crowd will get behind him and he's a great player to play alongside."

Despite Farrell's selection at 12 alongside Joseph, his involvement remains the subject of speculation after England coach Eddie Jones described him as "a doubt" before insisting "he'll be alright".

Joseph was also asked about the incident that led to Farrell requiring treatment on an unspecified injury, and he responded: "I didn't see it, but he seems completely fine.

"It's maybe a precautionary thing, but he'll be out there on Saturday and I'm sure he'll have a great game."

Scotland's last win at Twickenham came in the 1983 Five Nations, but they appear an improving team and England are yet to reach the level with which they consistently excelled last year.

Unconvincing starts to matches have contributed much to England appearing under pressure as they near New Zealand's record of 18 straight Test wins, but Joseph is confident they are ready to improve.

"It's been one of our best preparation weeks," he said. "The boys have worked really hard; things seem to be clicking a lot more now.

"Not that they weren't before, but now we're really starting to understand the way we're trying to play, each others' game a lot more, and you can see in training that we're coming on leaps and bounds."


From Belfast Telegraph