Jones: More food at team buffet with Vunipolas brothers absent!


England will be without the Vunipola brothers as they kick-off their Six Nations title defence but at least the holders will not go hungry, head coach Eddie Jones joked.

Jones is set to be without number eight Billy Vunipola for the entire tournament, while brother Mako could return from a knee injury for the final two rounds.

But as England looks ahead to Saturday's opener against France at Twickenham, Jones joked: "There is more food at dinner now they are not with us.

"When the buffet finishes, there is still some left - it used to be all gone!

"They are big ball-carriers and Billy has been a great lieutenant to Dylan Hartley, leading from the shadows. Mako grew enormously when he had the opportunity in Australia and then the autumn, going from a 50-50 choice with Joe Marler to being one of the best looseheads in the world.

"We are going to miss them, but we have fantastic replacements. I thought Nathan Hughes was outstanding against Australia, playing like a big number eight in his last 40 minutes, and Joe - I am positive he will be fit - was the form loosehead in last year's Six Nations before his incident in the Wales game. They won't be the Vunipolas, but they will be something different."