LONDON (Reuters) - England number eight Billy Vunipola is set to play against Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday and could well start the Six Nations clash after making a fast-track recovery from a knee problem.
Vunipola suffered the injury in November and was expected to miss the entire Six Nations but he played most of the match for his club Gloucester against Newcastle on Sunday and suffered no after-effects.
England coach Eddie Jones named a 24-man match squad on Tuesday with Vunipola expected to start in place of Nathan Hughes - a view given added weight by photographs of a team sheet placed pitchside during Tuesday’s training session in Bagshot, Surrey.
Centre Jonathan Joseph, who was left out of the squad for the victory over Italy, is set to reclaim the outside centre berth from Ben Te‘o. Scrumhalf Ben Youngs and winger Jack Nowell are also poised for recalls to the starting team, which will be named on Thursday.
Defending champions England top the Six Nations standings after three victories and another on Saturday would take their winning run to 18, level with New Zealand who hold the tier one world record.
Scotland will arrive in good heart after two wins and some exciting performances but still face a huge task at a ground where they have not won for 34 years.
England squad to face Scotland (one player to be released)
Forwards (13) Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)Jamie George (Saracens)Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) James Haskell (Wasps)Nathan Hughes (Wasps) Maro Itoje (Saracens)Joe Launchbury (Wasps)Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)Joe Marler (Harlequins) Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins) Billy Vunipola (Saracens)Mako Vunipola (Saracens)Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)Backs (11) Mike Brown (Harlequins) Danny Care (Harlequins) Elliot Daly (Wasps)Owen Farrell (Saracens) George Ford (Bath Rugby) Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Editing by Ed Osmond