Billy Vunipola could face Ulster
April 2, 2014
Billy Vunipola could play against Ulster on Saturday © Getty Images
Saracens could call on England No.8 Billy Vunipola for Saturday's Heineken Cup quarter-final against Ulster at Ravenhill.
Vunipola picked up an ankle injury while on England duty against Ireland on February and there were fears he could be out of action until the final few matches of the season. But six weeks into his spell on the sidelines and he could be fit to return to face Ulster at the weekend.
"We'll make a decision later in the week," Saracens boss Mark McCall said. "If Billy plays it'll be because he's fit to play. We won't take a risk with any player."
Ulster have their own injury worries with Ruan Pienaar a doubt following a shoulder injury he picked up last month. But like Sarries, they are quietly optimistic one of their most influential players will be fit for duty.
"Ruan is progressing pretty well, so we are hopeful he'll be all right," Mark Anscombe, the Ulster head coach, told the Times. "He is a special player. He has a lot of experience, he's a big-match player and he's got the temperament you need in these games to keep your composure."
The match will be the first time Ulster host a European knockout game at their newly expanded Ravenhill home and McCall is anticipating a ferocious encounter.
"They would say it's the biggest home game in their history," he said. "They've had three away quarter-finals but this is their first home quarter-final and I gather they could have sold out many times over. People are talking of nothing else. They're going to be favourites but we'll go with a good plan and will be well prepared."
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