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Eddie Jones the right man to take England to the top – Billy Vunipola

Billy Vunipola is convinced Eddie Jones remains the right man to lead England to the top of world rugby and has heeded the warning his head coach gave the team after signing a new contract.

England defeated Australia and two-time defending champions New Zealand en route to reaching the Rugby World Cup final in Japan last year.

However, a fired-up South Africa proved a hurdle too far in the final as England limply succumbed to a 32-12 defeat in Yokohama.

The Rugby Football Union remained convinced in Jones, though, and the Australian signed a new contract through to the 2023 World Cup earlier this month.

Saracens powerhouse Vunipola says the whole team is behind Jones.

“I think everyone just sees Eddie through the lens of the media and what he says, but the players will always back him and follow him,” he told the Daily Mail.

“If you watch the documentary about the World Cup, the most excited I have ever been was when we had the first meeting before the New Zealand game. People should watch that.

“It was the first meeting of the week and Eddie just said, ‘Nobody thinks we can beat the All Blacks, but I do’. It was on the Sunday I think, the day after we had played Australia.

“Everyone was pumped already! It was a shame what happened to us in the final but I truly believe we have the right leader in charge to take us to the top.”

Upon agreeing to his new deal, Jones put England’s stars on red alert by suggesting as much as 60 per cent of the squad could be different by the time the next World Cup in France arrives.

Vunipola believes that is a sign of Jones wanting to keep England focused and says he is ready to meet the challenge.

“I’ve now got another three-plus years to be within that 40 per cent,” he added.

“That’s another way of him challenging the boys not to let up. Everyone needs to take heed of his messages and make sure you aren’t the guy who gets cut.”

Vunipola also harbours ambitions of representing the British and Irish Lions in South Africa next year, having not yet played in the red jersey – a shoulder injury scuppering his hopes in 2017.

“That is one of the biggest things for me. I want to give myself the platform to help me play for the Lions. I need to play for England first, to put myself in the shop window to play for the Lions,” he said.

“I have to show I am good enough. It is going to be massive and there is so much competition. It is definitely something I am very keen on doing.”

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