Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Billy Vunipola

Podcast Episode - 15

Viliami (Billy) Vunipola

No.8, Flanker - England & Saracens

Name: Villami Vunipola
DOB: 3 /11 1992
Born: Sydney, Australia
Father: Fe'ao Vunipola
Mother: Rev Lesinga Vunipola
Siblings: Mako, Ana, Tiffany
Height: 6ft 2in
Weight: 19st 12lb


Villami (Billy) Vunipola is the worlds best number 8 if not currently the worlds best rugby player. He comes from fine rugby stock. He is the 4th generation Vunipola to play International rugby. His father (Fe'ao), Grandfather (Sione) and Great Grandfather (Villami), all played international rugby for Tonga. His brother Mako also is an England  and Lions International and his cousin Talupe Faletau is a Welsh and Lions international

Billy was selected as a 2017 Lion to tour New Zealand and was likely to be the first name on the test side team sheet but has unfortunately had to pull out of the tour due to an ongoing Shoulder injury.

Billy moved to the UK in 1999 and initially lived in Wales as his father had a contract to play rugby for Pontypool. Shortly after they moved to Bristol, where Billy attended Castle School and played local rugby for Thornbury Rugby Club (where he received his one and only red card).

His brother Mako, attended Millfield school and Billy also, initially wanted to go to Millfield School, but instead went to Harrow school on a bursary as his parents wanted him to get out the shadow of Mako. At Harrow, Billy was a prolific rugby player for the school and as well as the ball carrying and forward play, we know him so well for now, he was also an accomplished kicker from hand and tee.

Billy is also currently studying for a degree in Business and Sport Management at the University of Hertfordshire.

Club:

Whilst at Harrow School, Billy joined the Wasps academy and in 2011 made his senior debut. Between 2011-2013, Billy made 39 appearances for the club and scored 4 tries.


In 2013, Billy moved to Saracens (somewhat reluctantly at first). The main reason for his move was that he and his family didn't want Billy and Mako playing against each other as they were worried it could tear the family apart. Billy has since admitted that it was the right move for him

To date, Billy has 77 appearances for Saracens and 16 tries. In 2016, he signed a multi year  contract extension for the club.

International:

Billy played for both England U18 & U20 and was made the England Saxons squad in Jan 2013. He got his first full senior cap in the summer tour of Argentina in 2013 and on debut scored a try in Englands 32-3 win.

During that tour, in an uncapped match vs a Consur XV, Billy scored a hat trick in 6 minutes. To date he has 34 caps and 6 tries for England.

It could all have been very different as he could have played for one of 4 countries, England, Wales, Tonga or Australia. We're very happy he chose England!

The journey from Tonga to Twickenham has been long, but he has grabbed the opportunity with both hands and I for one cant wait to see him back on the pitch again, when his shoulder heals.




Podcast Episode - 15

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