Billy Vunipola sees positives from Saracens dropping into the Championship

Billy Vunipola sees a season spent in the Greene King IPA Championship as a chance to refresh after becoming the latest senior England international to commit his future to Saracens.

Vunipola will remain at Allianz Park next season despite the double winners’ relegation from the Gallager Premiership for repeated salary cap breaches.

It has been made clear to Saracens’ established Test stars that they will remain eligible for England and Lions selection despite competing in the second tier and Vunipola will welcome the lighter work load.

“It’s an opportunity to again look after myself and my body but also help the team with performances,” Vunipola said.

“There’s not as many fixtures or big games and people will understand when I say that as currently you can go from Clermont one week to Exeter the next, which is extremely tough and everyone carries niggles.

“It’s tough going but next year is a chance to recharge and get the body to feel better.”

Vunipola missed every match of England’s truncated Six Nations after sustaining a fourth broken arm against Racing 92 in January and he admits that in the past he has contributed to his current problems.

“My arm has been pretty sore for a while,” the 27-year-old number eight said.

“I wasn’t looking after it very well and it was a period of time in my life where I was naive in terms of recovery and taking care of myself.

“We learn lessons by going through these times. I learned some valuable ones and hopefully I can take it into these next few weeks of isolation, look after myself and try to do as much as I can with rehab. My focus is on getting my body right and not rushing it.

“The club has always backed me when I’ve been injured and my family has always been there for me whether I’ve been a bit loose or doing things I’m not supposed to be.”

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