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Frustration gets better of Vunipola

Billy Vunipola stepped off England's bench for the second Test in Dunedin seething with resentment, but rather than scattering New Zealand he found the emotion a hindrance.

It was hoped Vunipola's arrival in the second half would launch a fresh onslaught against the All Blacks as he vented the frustration at losing his number eight spot to Ben Morgan.

The tide was already turning as New Zealand began the fightback that led to a series-clinching 28-27 victory and Vunipola's desperation proved counter productive.

"Being angry and annoyed meant I tried to do too much and lost sight of my job which is helping the team," the Saracens back row said.

"(Head coach) Stuart Lancaster had the right idea in his head. He wants to win games and I understood that, but being dropped is never nice.

"It's tough coming off the bench because you are trying to make an impact and you are trying to show the coaches that you bring something different.

"If I'm starting then it comes as the game goes on, you can build into it rather than come in and try and get to a level where everyone else is already at.

"I'm not saying I don't like being a sub, I'll do it, but everyone is playing for the starting spot. That's what Stuart's created."

Morgan excelled during the 20-15 defeat at Eden Park and as a result continued at number eight a week later, even though Vunipola had become available following completion of the club season.

Lancaster hinted that apart from Morgan's epic shift in Auckland, the selection had been influenced by Vunipola's low mood in camp after Saracens had lost the Heineken and Aviva Premiership finals in successive weekends.

"I agree with that to an extent. Losing the finals was quite hard to take," Vunipola said.

"As a player you learn things and hopefully I can learn from this and get over any future setbacks quickly.

"I have to use setbacks as motivation rather than dwelling on them and letting them bother me for more than a few days."

Vunipola insists England are willing to do whatever it takes to win the final Test in Hamilton on Saturday.

"If being direct wins us the game then we'll do it. England won the World Cup playing that way. It's one of those cliches - win playing ugly," he said.

"Our biggest goal is to try and come away from this tour having won one of the Tests.

"I'm confident we can do that, whether it's by playing counter-attack or playing to our strengths of mauling and set-piece and grinding it out."


From Belfast Telegraph