Rugby World Cup 2015: Billy Vunipola replaced by Nick Easter

Nick Easter
Nick Easter has played 52 times for England with his last appearance coming in the 25-20 loss to France in Paris in August
England v Australia
Venue: Twickenham. Date: Saturday, 3 October. Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live, plus live text commentary on BBC Sport website

England forward Billy Vunipola has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a knee ligament strain.

Harlequins number eight Nick Easter, 37, who has 52 Test caps, has been called up as a replacement.

Saracens' Vunipola, 22, suffered the injury in Saturday's 28-25 defeat by Wales at Twickenham and is expected to be out for six weeks.

Lock Courtney Lawes is a doubt for Saturday's Australia game with a knee injury and will not train on Tuesday.

Billy Vunipola
BIlly Vunipola has played 21 times for England and scored a try in the 35-11 World Cup win over Fiji

"It's so unfortunate for Billy - he's worked really hard," said England head coach Stuart Lancaster.

"He's committed everything to the last three months but he is a young man with a bright future ahead of him and I know he'll 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."

Media playback is not supported on this device

England united after Wales loss - Lancaster

Easter said he was driving to training with Harlequins when he was told he was being called back into the England squad.

"The management said I was on standby and that anything can happen," he added.

"It's very unfortunate for Billy. He played very well against Wales and was a star of the Six Nations."

England have played two games in the World Cup - a 35-11 win over Fiji and Saturday's loss to Wales.

They are third in Pool A and face Australia at Twickenham on Saturday and Uruguay a week later, with the top two progressing to the quarter-finals.

"The players are looking forward to the biggest week of their lives. It's knockout rugby from here on in," added Easter.

Centre Jonathan Joseph, who missed the Wales defeat with a chest injury, is "making very good strides and ticking all the boxes", according to backs coach Andy Farrell.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs is "making progress" on a swollen ankle, but will also not train on Tuesday, although number eight Ben Morgan is "fully back" into training.

Nick Easter tweet
More from rugby:
England burdened by intense pressure - Guscott
Wood not cited over Liam Williams incident
World Cup gossip column
Get World Cup alerts direct to your phone
Rugby World Cup 2015 fixtures and groups
For the latest rugby union news, follow @bbcrugbyunion on Twitter

Top Stories