Mako Vunipola, Ben Morgan and Charlie Sharples named in England squad for autumn internationals

Mako Vunipola

Mako Vunipola

First published in Sport Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor covering the Thornbury, Dursley and Yate areas

FORMER Castle School pupil Mako Vunipola has been called into the senior England squad for the first time today.

The 20st 6lb prop replaces the injured Alex Corbisiero from the Elite Player Squad for the autumn internationals, where England take on Fiji, Australia South Africa and world champions New Zealand.

Vuipola is one of two uncapped players in the England squad alongside Tom Youngs, while former Dursley youth players Ben Morgan and Charlie Sharples retain their places.

England coach Stuart Lancaster said: "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."

Vunipola, 21, grew up in Thornbury after his dad F’eao, who played in three World Cups for Tonga, joined Welsh club Pontypridd in 1999.

He has played for England at under-18 and under-20 level, helping them clinch the under-20s Six Nations Grand Slam and reach the World Championship final in 2011.

His younger brother Billy, who played with him in both age groups, joined Wasps in 2009 when their parents moved away from the area to near London.

Vunipola, played youth rugby for Bristol and progressed to their first team before sealing a switch to Premiership giants Saracens in 2011, where he has made 19 appearances.

In an interview with the Gazette in 2009, Vunipola said: “One day I’ll hopefully play for England.”

He is now a step closer to his dream.

England’s autumn internationals: Saturday, November 10 – Fiji; Saturday, November 17 – Australia; Saturday, November 24 – South Africa; Saturday, December 1 – New Zealand.

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