Vunipola, fit again after breaking his right arm for the third time in January, could only watch on as stand-in No.8 Tom Curry seized his Six Nations opportunity in fine style.
With Nathan Hughes and younger rivals Sam Simmonds, Alex Dombrandt and Zach Mercer equally keen to press their own international causes, Vunipola now has his work cut out.
Vunipola, 27, told The Rugby Paper: “I thought he (Curry) did very well. There’s obviously competition there but I’m just concentrating on what I can do myself now and what I can provide for my team.
“Competition definitely sharpens your focus and I know there are people out there vying for it, just as I am. We’re all vying to get in that (England) team and I’m not in the driving seat.
“In fact, I wouldn’t say any of us are and we’ve all got a fresh slate now, so we’re just pushing our cases forward and the decision-makers will make their decisions.”
Vunipola is acutely aware that impending relegation and a year in the Championship is not great preparation for an intense 2021 Test programme that includes a Lions tour – a bridge many of his high-profile colleagues will also need to cross.
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August 09, 2020