England's Billy Vunipola relishing chance to face Argentina pack
Last Updated: 07/11/13 1:34pm
Vunipola: on the charge for England
The performance of Billy Vunipola was one of the positives to come out of England's win against Australia, but Vunipola says the credit has to be shared across the whole of the back row.
Last Saturday's 20-13 win over the Wallabies in their QBE International was a special day for the Saracens No.8 as he made his first appearance for England at Twickenham. Thankfully older brother Mako was on hand to keep him calm.
"Playing at Twickenham is just an awesome experience, being at a packed out Twickenham with so many English fans was just incredible and I did feel a bit overwhelmed," Vunipola told Sky Sports.
"Because they are working so hard, that allows me to make the most of my opportunities and to be able to exploit defences and carry the ball over the gain line. It's all about team work - if Chris and Tom were not working so hard then I would not be able to do that."
"But then to look over and share that with my brother just topped off a fantastic evening - he just gave me a nod and it calmed me. To get a win over Australia is always good and the way we came back showed to the boys that we do play for each other and trust each other.
"The leaders in the team really came to the fore - they didn't panic and I think that we managed to grind it out. That was a real positive to take from that game."
Despite the win, England came in for criticism of the performance; however Vunipola caught the eye with some big carries and even bigger tackles. That, he says, is thanks to his back row colleague of Chris Robshaw and Tom Wood.
"Playing alongside Chris and Tom is just incredible - their work rate is enormous and they just don't seem to stop," explained Vunipola.
"Because they are working so hard, that allows me to make the most of my opportunities and to be able to exploit defences and carry the ball over the gain line. It's all about team work - if Chris and Tom were not working so hard then I would not be able to do that.
"I still have plenty to work on - my breakdown work, my depth in attack and also my decision making. One of the things we talked about after Australia was being a bit more accurate on attack and also being a bit more streetwise in the areas of the field we play in, that means making those right decisions. At this level it's the little things that make the difference - knowing when to go in, when to take on defences and when not to. I need to learn how to execute my decisions quicker and better."
The 20-year-old will win his fourth cap for England against Argentina and is delighted to be pulling on the No.8 jersey for England again.
"Any opportunity to play for England is an honour and I think Saturday is going to be a big game. Argentina will be coming for us that is for sure - especially after what happened in the summer. They are missing a few big players but they will come at us very hard.
"Their scrum is very good - they take a lot of pride in that aspect of the game and we saw what they did to the likes of Australia and New Zealand in the scrum. We know we are in for a huge battle upfront but that is why you play the game."
Billy Vunipola was representing the England team at an event for QBE, official insurance partner of England Rugby. QBE is supporting the development of rugby through the QBE Coaching Club. Visit www.QBErugby.com