VUNIPOLA: STARS MAY STRIKE OVER WORK­LOAD

Daily Mirror - - SPORT - BY ALEX SPINK

BILLY VUNIPOLA makes his long-awaited re­turn from in­jury warn­ing that play­ers may strike un­less there is a re­duc­tion in matches. The Eng­land No.8 starts for Sara­cens against New­cas­tle tonight in Philadel­phia, his first match since last sea­son’s Premier­ship fi­nal. Vunipola, 24, missed the Lions tour to un­dergo shoul­der surgery – which fol­lowed quickly af­ter a knee op­er­a­tion – and be­lieves that rugby bosses do not un­der­stand how tough the sea­son-long tread­mill is.

“Some­thing is go­ing to have to give,” he said.

“Some­thing might hap­pen where we fol­low the NFL or NBA, where they had a lock­out.

“I’m not say­ing I’m go­ing to start it, but I feel like some­thing needs to hap­pen for the suits to re­alise these guys are se­ri­ous.

“It’s not about money, it’s about the toil we’re put through. It comes down to how much we play.”

El­liot Daly and James Haskell make their first Wasps ap­pear­ances since the Lions to­mor­row against Har­lequins, who have teenager Mar­cus Smith at fly-half in place of Demetri Ca­trak­ilis, who frac­tured a bone in his throat against Glouces­ter.

STRIKE A BLOW Vunipola fears ac­tion over sched­ule

HEROIC Vunipola en­joy­ing Grand Slam glory last year

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