Rugby World Cup 2019: England’s Billy Vunipola ‘better than Kieran Read’

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England's Billy Vunipola on his way to a try in a Rugby World Cup warmup game win over Wales at Twickenham.

Adam Davy

England’s Billy Vunipola on his way to a try in a Rugby World Cup warmup game win over Wales at Twickenham.

England’s Billy Vunipola has overtaken All Blacks captain Kieran Read as the best No 8 in world rugby “by a huge margin”, says a former Ireland international.

Neil Francis – who locked the Irish scrum 36 times between 1987 and 1996 – made the claim in his IrishIndependentcolumn after Vunipola’s England team celebrated a record win over Ireland with a 57-18 victory at Twickenham on Saturday (Sunday NZ time).

“It has been obvious for a number of seasons now that Billy Vunipola is the best number 8 in the world by a huge margin,” Francis wrote.

“On his day he is practically unplayable and if your tactical gambit is to try and rush him and chop tackle him before he gets up a head of steam your biggest problem will be just exactly where he pops up on the pitch.”

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Billy Vunipola in action against another top international No 8, South Africa's Duane Vermeulen.

David Rogers

Billy Vunip

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