Billy Vunipola hopes to be fit for World Cup despite knee operation

Billy Vunipola at an England training session Billy Vunipola is hopeful of being fit for the Rugby World Cup (Adam Davy/PA)

Billy Vunipola has undergone a minor operation on his injured knee but expects to be fit for the Rugby World Cup.

The England forward remains with a 36-player squad named by head coach Steve Borthwick for their third World Cup training camp at The Lensbury Resort in south-west London.

“The medical team are positive about my prospects and I understand exactly what needs to be done over the next few weeks,” said Vunipola.

The line-up is the same as last week’s camp with the exception of Will Joseph and Beno Obano, who both miss out. Players from Gallagher Premiership finalists Sale and Saracens have not been included.

“I’m pleased with the progress that’s been made over the last two weeks and we look forward to another productive training camp at the Lensbury,” said Borthwick.

“There’s still a long way to go until we are ready for a World Cup but each day we take another step forward.”

Ollie Chessum, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ollie Lawrence and Jack Walker all remain with their team-mates as they continue their rehabilitation from injury.

England will take on Wales in Cardiff on August 5, with Borthwick due to name his 33-strong squad for the World Cup in France two days later.

England training squad

Forwards: J Blamire (Newcastle), D Cole (Leicester), A Dombrandt (Harlequins), T Dunn (Bath), C Ewels (Bath), E Genge (Bristol), J Heyes (Leicester), T Hill (Bath), C Lawes (Northampton), L Ludlam (Northampton), J Marler (Harlequins), G Martin (Leicester), Z Mercer (Montpellier), T Pearson (London Irish), V Rapava-Ruskin (Gloucester), D Ribbans (Northampton), K Sinckler (Bristol), W Stuart (Bath), S Underhill (Bath)

Backs: H Arundell (London Irish), D Care (Harlequins), J Cokanasiga (Bath), F Dingwall (Northampton), T Freeman (Northampton), J Marchant (Harlequins), J May (Gloucester), A Mitchell (Northampton), C Murley (Harlequins), G Porter (Leicester), H Slade (Exeter), F Smith (Northampton), M Smith (Harlequins), F Steward (Leicester), J Van Poortvliet (Leicester), A Watson (Leicester), B Youngs (Leicester)

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