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Vunipola may miss England's South Africa tour with injury

Billy Vunipola has suffered yet another injury setback that casts doubt over his involvement in England's summer tour. Credit: PA

Billy Vunipola has suffered yet another injury setback that casts doubt over his involvement in England's summer tour to South Africa.

Vunipola withdrew from training with his club Saracens on Wednesday afternoon because of a tight hamstring that has ruled him out of at least Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash with Gloucester, and he is being assessed to discover the extent of the damage.

The number eight has played only 249 minutes over the past year due to shoulder, knee and arm injuries and his last international appearance was against Ireland in March 2017.

"Nothing happened, he just felt some tightness and awareness of that tightness. The hamstring hasn't pulled or anything," Saracens' director of rugby Mark McCall said.

Joseph to miss England's tour to South Africa

Credit: PA

Bath centre Jonathan Joseph is set to miss England's summer tour to South Africa because of a foot injury.

The Aviva Premiership club say Joseph will not play again this season, with rugby director Todd Blackadder adding that the player will require surgery and "need a lengthy period of time to rehabilitate".

Joseph, who has won 40 caps, was hurt during Bath's Premiership clash against Saracens last Sunday.

England play three Tests against the Springboks in June.

"JJ is going to need surgery to correct his injury," Blackadder told the club's website. "He will then need a lengthy period of time to rehabilitate.

"Our medical team will work closely with him to ensure we get him back on the pitch as soon as possible."

Joseph started three of England's Six Nations games this season, and is a prolific international try-scorer with 17 Test touchdowns.

Joseph's Bath and England team-mate Anthony Watson is already sidelined from the tour because of an Achilles' injury, and captain Dylan Hartley is viewed as a doubt due to concussion.

Knee injuries, meanwhile, look set to remove lock Courtney Lawes and number eight Nathan Hughes from England boss Eddie Jones' summer plans.


Gatland: Wales will 'look after' North

Gatland says Wales will look after North. Credit: PA

Warren Gatland says Welsh rugby will "look after" George North if his Northampton career ends early.

The Wales wing's Saints contract expires at the end of this season, after which he will move back to Wales on a national dual contract.

North's selection to face NatWest 6 Nations opponents Italy this weekend comes four days on from him missing Northampton's Aviva Premiership game against Sale Sharks, after which interim Saints boss Alan Gaffney suggested the 25-year-old had not wanted to play for Northampton.

North had been released by Wales as it was a Six Nations fallow week, but he did not feature for Northampton amid reports he had an arrangement with former Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder that he would not play club rugby on rest weekends.

Gatland said: "The message I have said to George is, if he wants to come home quicker than next season we will look after him."

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