All posts tagged: Ludlam

Ludlam ‘the great energy giver’ gets nod ahead of Vunipola for Japan clash | England rugby union team

Given his attention to detail, it will not be lost on Steve Borthwick that the last time Billy Vunipola was named on England’s bench was in the autumn of 2022, against Japan, in the last victory of Eddie Jones’s tenure. Japan were dismal that day but the manner in which England dominated, with Jones opting for a more mobile back row including Sam Simmonds, may go some way to explaining why Vunipola has been named only on the bench for for Sunday’s match against the same opponents. Still, it is a surprise that the No 8, available again after suspension, is not in the starting lineup. It is not often that Vunipola is used as a replacement – indeed, only a handful of times in his career and most of those early on. The last of those, before the Japan fixture last year, was in the 2017 Six Nations and when Borthwick declared “we want him to play as much as he possibly can” when naming his squad just a month ago, the expectation was …