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England will not get carried away with the growing hype, maintains Vunipola

 

Billy Vunipola
Billy Vunipola

By Andrew Baldock

Billy Vunipola has urged England to stay humble as expectations over their World Cup prospects heightened with Saturday's 57-15 rout of Ireland at Twickenham.

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Eight tries were engineered against a team also considered title contenders for this autumn's global showpiece in a statement performance that was tainted only by the recurrence of Mako Vunipola's hamstring injury.

Billy Vunipola is wary of the acclaim that will accompany the outcome of their Twickenham send-off, however.

"The biggest thing is for us to stay humble. Now everyone is going to pump up our tyres because we did well this week, but it was only last week that everyone was hammering us," the Saracens No.8 said.

"The biggest danger is the other side of the coin. We need to keep our feet firmly on the ground and keep working.

"At the moment we're in a good place but I don't think a good place can win you a World Cup and we want to keep improving.

"We didn't let up. There were times that we could have taken our foot off the accelerator, but this showed we can take teams to a place where they're not comfortable.

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"We're pretty happy with it but satisfied is probably the wrong term, we always want to improve. There are parts of our game that probably let us down."

Ireland's surrender was secured not only by the power of England's forwards, but also as a result of their willingness to prolong moves through their crisp handling.

"We're always trying to add things to our game and having props that can play ball in hand helps," Vunipola said.

• The 2018 World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year Aphiwe Dyanti has tested positive for an unspecified banned substance, but revealed he will fight any potential suspension and requested his B sample be tested.

The positive result came during a Springbok training camp last month.

"I want to deny ever taking any prohibited substance, intentionally or negligently, to enhance my performance on the field," he said in a statement.

"I believe in hard work and fair play. I have never cheated and never will. The presence of this prohibited substance in my body has come as a massive shock to me and together with my management team and experts appointed, we are doing everything to get to the source of this and to prove my innocence."

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