England call up Mako Vunipola
October 25, 2012
Mako Vunipola has been called up by England © PA Photos
Vunipola replaces London Irish front-rower Alex Corbisiero, who is not due to return to action from a knee injury until mid-November. Lancaster had already made one change to the original squad, replacing retired prop Matt Stevens with Bath's David Wilson. Vunipola was drafted into the Saxons as Wilson's replacement but the 21-year-old has now been fast-tracked into the senior squad after an impressive start to the season with Saracens.
The 20-stone loosehead prop was born in New Zealand. His father, Fe'ao Vunipola, won 32 caps for Tonga and played at the 1995 and 1999 World Cups. Although he qualifies for Wales after the family relocated when Fe'ao signed for Pontypool in 1998, Vunipola has played for England Under-18s and the Under-20s.
And England coach Stuart Lancaster has also confirmed the replacements for injured trio Ben Foden, Tom Croft and Rob Webber ahead of their matches with Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
Leicester hooker Tom Youngs, who toured South Africa with England in the summer, is promoted into the senior squad as Dylan Hartley's immediate understudy for the four-Test series. Monye's form for Harlequins has also caught Lancaster's eye and will fill the back three place vacated when Foden damaged ankle ligaments playing for Northampton.
England have also blooded Wasps flanker Haskell who comes into the side to replace Croft. The group will meet at St George's Park, the Football Association's new sports training and development centre, on Sunday and will stay in camp until Thursday. And ahead of the November Tests, Lancaster wants his players to replicate their club form on the international stage.
"As a coaching team we can't wait to go into camp and get the guys focused on what will be a massive challenge in the internationals - Fiji and then the three major southern Hemisphere teams in successive weeks," Lancaster said. "We have been impressed with some of the rugby we have seen in the Aviva Premiership and Heineken Cup and are looking forward to the players bringing that form to Twickenham.
"It's great to be able to give Mako a chance in the squad. He has come through our age grade sides and made a real impact at Saracens. Likewise Tom Youngs, who was with us on tour in South Africa, and we know what James Haskell and Ugo Monye are capable of if they get their opportunity."
Forwards: Mouritz Botha (Saracens), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), James Haskell (London Wasps), Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Tom Palmer (London Wasps), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers), David Wilson (Bath Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Backs: Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers), Chris Ashton (Saracens), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (London Irish), Ugo Monye (Harlequins), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures
"Our scrums and lineouts are sometimes not that good but our men are very brave." Ken Borland finds that rugby is on the rise in Senegal
Laurie Fisher talks about the Brumbies and Gloucester, and provides revealing thoughts on the player involvement during the glory days in Canberra