New Zealand Journalist Takes A Swipe At Injured Billy Vunipola & His Commitment To The Lions

The Lions suffered a major blow when it was revealed that Billy Vunipola was unable to travel to New Zealand due to a longstanding shoulder problem that needs sorting out.

The Saracens man was the leading candidate to start at eight and his loss will no doubt be hugely felt by Gatland. The shoulder issue has been ongoing for quite some time with his club Saracens doing their best to manage him.

Billy had hoped to get his shoulder operated on following the Lions tour, but it turns out the damage was too severe and he just felt he wouldn’t be right in New Zealand. The number eight has been popping his shoulder back in during games and has clearly done serious damage that must be looked at for the sake of his career. At 24 years of age, there’s absolutely no doubt he will get another chance at a Lions tour.

Mark Reason of stuff.co.nz however, has questioned Vunipola’s commitment to the Lions and blasted his club as ‘greedy’ ahead of the tour, starving fans ┬áin New Zealand of one of the best players in the world.

He has criticised Vunipola’s decision to not be assessed by the Lions medical team, stating his loyalties are clearly with Saracens.

It is a crying shame for the Lions and for New Zealanders who want to see the best playing each other. It is an indictment of Saracens who have pushed Vunipola too far at the expense of the Lions and now selfishly want him repaired. It is an indictment of the greedy English Premiership bastard owners who recently pushed for an 11 months season, causing player revolt. It is an indictment of modern rugby which involves far too much bash.
And perhaps it is also an indictment of Vunipola. You feel he may not properly ‘get’ the Lions. You feel his loyalties are with Saracens who he calls “such an amazing bunch of guys.” By not even flying to Ireland to let the Lions medical staff assess him, Vunipola has shown the Lions unfortunate disrespect.
He has also left the tour as damaged as his own shoulder.

While it can be said that English Premiership club owners do push their players to unacceptable lengths at times, to say Vunipola has shown the Lions disrespect is shameful in our opinion. There’s absolutely no doubt that he would have loved to have been on that plane yesterday.

It should also be noted that Saracens did indeed give him permission to get the surgery after the tour but Billy decided to put his career and welfare first. A disrespectful and shameful piece of journalism that’s almost as bad as that drivel that was written by the NZ Herald about Jimmy Gopperth a few weeks back.

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Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor at RugbyLAD. Any queries big or small you can reach him at [email protected]

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