England number eight Billy Vunipola is expected to return to the squad for the penultimate Six Nations championship match against Scotland after recovering from a knee injury. The 24-year-old made his first appearance of 2017 in Saracens' Premiership victory over Newcastle and has been included in the 30-man training squad ahead of the clash at Twickenham this weekend.
Vunipola's 72-minute appearance came after having torn knee cartilage in the autumn win over Argentina which forced him to miss three months of action. The back-row forward missed the first there matches of the tournament against France, Wales and Italy.
Coach Eddie Jones will name his match day 23 on Thursday [8 March] and that group will include the returning Vunipola. Forwards coach Neil Hatley says the Aussie-born player had proven his fitness ahead of the Calcutta Cup match, which will also decide the destination of the triple crown and could see England equal New Zealand's record of 18 consecutive wins.
"I think he has done enough to prove he should be in the squad," he told the Rugby Football Union's official website. "It's great to have that competition between him and Nathan Hughes. Nathan has gone really well for us.
"It's just fantastic to have him back. Billy brings a big boost to the squad and is a likeable character so he brings a lot of good energy and it's a good confidence boost for the boys. He is similar to Nathan in that he brings good control at the base of the scrum and from a carrying point of view he is one of the top carriers around. He has real power and defensively he hits hard and is good over the ball."