Billy Vunipola plays in the back-line for England against Italy
Before England faced Italy in the Six Nations, so much of the talk was about the home side’s enormous centre pairing of Ben Te’o and Manu Tuilagi. But the task got all the more sizeable for Italy’s defence when No 8 Billy Vunipola slotted into England’s back-line.
In an innovative strike move, the Saracens back-rower came off the scrum, with big winger Joe Cokanasiga packing down at No 8. The ball came out and was fed to Vunipola steaming in on the angle.
It wasn’t the only back-like move from Vunipola in the first half.
Just three minutes into the contest the No 8 took the ball with the defence rushing on and chipped the ball ahead. With Italy back-pedalling, the English defence swallowed up the Italians, deep in their own territory.
Not to be outdone, tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler put in a kick of his own just a minute later.
It was one of those games. where England‘s big men had the freedom to try things.
Tuilagi’s second try also involved a huge looping pass from hooker Jamie George, too.
As you will read from the round-up here, even England’s blindside Brad Shields ended up with a try brace.
Shields’ second came from a charged down kick – and George Kruis charged one down too and scored himself.
England scored eight tries in their 57-14 win.