VUNIPOLA: STARS MAY STRIKE OVER WORKLOAD
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