England will miss Vunipola's leadership, says coach Borthwick

England will miss Vunipola's leadership, says coach Borthwick
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - England Training - Pennyhill Park Hotel, Bagshot, Britain - February 7, 2019 England's Mako Vunipola during training Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs/File Photo -
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(Reuters) - England will miss the leadership of prop Mako Vunipola, who has been ruled out of the side's remaining Six Nations Championship campaign, forwards coach Steve Borthwick has said.

England, who lead the table with 10 points, lost Vunipola to an ankle ligament injury in their 44-8 victory over France. The 28-year-old had played a pivotal role in England's stunning win over holders Ireland with a team-high 11 carries and 27 tackles.

"He's an exceptional player. The leadership he gives, the presence he has, and the effect he has on those around him, that's incredibly significant," Borthwick was quoted as saying by British media.

"The fundamentals of his game - scrum, his work in the tight, his mauling work, his line-out work, his set-piece work - are exceptional. And on top of that he is making 20-odd tackles a game and carrying the ball 15 times.

"His work-rate is absolutely phenomenal. It's a big loss and I'm really disappointed for him and disappointed for the team."

Borthwick said the side have the strength in depth with Ellis Genge and Ben Moon set to compete for Vunipola's spot, although Genge was withdrawn from Thursday's training session with a sore ankle.

"Ben Moon and Ellis Genge have some real strengths as well. We have seen that before in an England shirt. I am looking forward to seeing how these guys take their opportunity."

England play second-placed Wales in Cardiff on Feb. 23 in a potential title decider and head coach Eddie Jones named 25 players for a three-day training camp in London earlier this week.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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