Saracens’ Vunipola says England must learn from errors against Scotland
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Eddie Jones’ men led 31-0 at one stage, but needed a late converted try to draw 38-38
Saracens back-row forward Billy Vunipola says England must pick themselves up from Saturday’s dramatic second-half collapse against Scotland in the Guinness Six Nations and carry on with their World Cup preparations.
George Ford’s converted try in the final play of a thrilling Guinness Six Nations encounter saved the hosts from further embarrassment, especially after surrendering a commanding 31-point lead, with the game eventually ending 38-38.
With Wales having already wrapped up the title with a convincing 25-7 drubbing of Ireland, England looked untouchable for the first 35 minutes.
Scotland then staged a remarkable comeback to stun the sold out Twickenham Stadium audience, as well as the millions watching on ITV.
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Vunipola, who played alongside Sarries colleagues Owen Farrell, George Kruis, Jamie George and Ben Spencer, could not pinpoint England’s second-half downfall, but admits there are plenty of mental aspects to be worked on.
“I guess we had the game get away from us and it’s a lesson to learn from going into the World Cup,” said the 26-year-old.
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“There were 30 minutes against Wales and 40 against Scotland where we slipped which is disappointing, but hopefully it’s something we can learn from.
“It’s tough to get a hand on a team that plays as free-flowing as Scotland and when they have nothing to play for, which they did after we went up 31-7, it reignited their spirit and we let them get on top of us.
“It is a lesson we can learn from and moving forward hopefully we can get through it if we ever encounter that in a World Cup game.”
Vunipola’s club colleague Sean Maitland, who played at fullback for Scotland, was gutted the visitors were unable to hold on for a famous lead.
“It was just one of those games where everyone in the stadium was probably feeling all of the emotions,” he said.
“It was a classic game of two halves, wasn’t it? I’m not sure what Gregor Townsend said to us at half-time, but it kicked the boys up the backside.
“We had nothing to lose and we just backed ourselves; we played, kept ticking away and soon we had the lead - it was just crazy scenes.
“It is disappointing not to win and I’m pretty gutted because I thought with four minutes to go we were looking for a big win, but credit to England who pulled it back.”