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Rugby World Cup: England turn to Nick Easter after Billy Vunipola setback


England prop Vunipola

England prop Vunipola

AFP/Getty Images

England prop Vunipola

England have called up Nick Easter to their World Cup squad after Billy Vunipola was ruled out of the tournament by a knee injury.

Vunipola suffered a ligament strain in Saturday's 28-25 defeat by Wales at Twickenham and a scan has revealed he will be sidelined for six weeks.

"It's so unfortunate for Billy but the scan shows an injury which means he can't take any further part in the World Cup," head coach Stuart Lancaster said.

Easter could be promoted straight into the back row against Australia on Saturday if Ben Morgan is ruled out for another match by his knee problem. The 37-year-old number eight, who has 52 Test caps and was involved in the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, joined the squad at their Surrey training camp yesterday.

"Billy worked really hard and committed everything to the last three months," Lancaster said.

"He is a young man with a bright future ahead of him and I know he will be an integral part of this team for years to come.

"Nick was unlucky to miss out on final selection. He is a specialist number eight and an experienced player. We know he will make a big contribution."

Vunipola was one of England's best performers against Wales, casting aside his error-strewn displays in the warm-up matches to rediscover the form he showed in the World Cup.

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