Billy Vunipola: Saracens boss says England back-row did not train before final

Billy Vunipola celebrates with Saracens fans
Billy Vunipola was named in Saracens' starting XV but it was not known whether he could play until the pre-match warm-up

England number eight Billy Vunipola did not train in the week leading up to his try-scoring contribution in Saracens' Premiership final win at Twickenham.

Vunipola, 25, scored Sarries' first try in their 27-10 victory over Exeter to secure a third title in four years.

There were concerns over his fitness after a hamstring injury forced him off in their semi-final win against Wasps.

"It was an interesting warm-up, to say the least. The coaches had all eyes on Billy," said Sarries boss Mark MccCall.

"But he came through fine and did pretty well, to be honest. With a weakness in your hamstring, it's normally best to give an injury like that as many days as possible."

Vunipola's older brother Mako put in a man-of-the-match display in the front row for Saracens, who were also indebted to fellow England stars such as Owen Farrell, George Kruis and Maro Itoje for producing an unstoppable run in the closing months of the campaign.

"We're very lucky to have international players like that who love coming back to the club," added McCall.

"Given how tough their Six Nations campaign was this year, they gave so much to the team and some of them were off the charts in terms of their performances."

Sarries lay 'ghosts of winter' to rest

Saracens lift the Premiership trophy
Saracens finished the regular season eight points behind table-topping Exeter

Victory in the Premiership final for Saracens rounded off a run of seven straight league wins with a combined total of 325 points.

It also saw them put a tricky run during November and December behind them.

As well as three straight Premiership defeats, McCall's squad were beaten twice in Europe and the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

"Sometimes on a run like that, as an organisation, you start to see ghosts and things wrong that aren't wrong," he said.

"As a group, we were calm and composed and fought our way through that period. There wasn't a lot that needed to be fixed."

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