England’s Billy Vunipola left his Guinness Six Nations rivals in no doubt that he is back at the top of his game with a try in Saracens’ Champions Cup win against Glasgow Warriors.
The powerful No.8, who starred in England’s 2016 Grand Slam triumph, has struggled with injury for much of the last two years but, now fit, he is back in Eddie Jones’ squad.
And he showed he is ready to make his mark by bulldozing his way through Glasgow’s defence mid-way through the first half at Allianz Park for a trademark try from the base of a scrum.
Saracens’ win is enough to secure a home quarter-final and, if they get there, a home semi-final in the spring following the Championship, which many of Europe’s leading players are now turning their attention too.
There was a minor concern for Jones on the eve of the match with England captain Owen Farrell ruled out beforehand with a hand injury.
The playmaker was sent straight for surgery on an injured thumb, with recovery likely to take a week to ten days.
He should be fit for England’s Championship opener in Dublin against holders Ireland, where he will hope to line up alongside the in-form Vunipola and Maro Itoje- who also scored in the second half to kill the game off.
In better news for Jones, lock Maro Itoje was also in fine form – scoring a try and scooping the man of the match award in the 36-19 victory.
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend will have been enthused too, with Tommy Seymour, Ali Price and Ryan Wilson all crossing for tries.
Elsewhere, Wales fly-half Gareth Anscombe booted four conversions for Cardiff Blues in their 33-14 win against Lyon while scrum-half Tomos Williams, capped four times in 2018, was among the try scorers.