|Weight||126kg (19st 11lb)|
Tries in successive matches against Italy and Wales from Viliami ‘Billy’ Vunipola helped England U18 to extend their victorious run to 19 international matches before the 23-17 defeat by hosts South Africa in the Four Team Tournament in July 2010. He was vice captain to Chris Walker on the tour and appeared in all three games.
Sydney-born Billy was brought into the England U20 squad on May 9 for the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa as a replacement for Matt Kvesic, who had undergone surgery on a shoulder injury. Billy went on to play in four matches in the tournament and is part of a distinguished Tongan rugby dynasty, his brother Mako being a former member of the England U20 squad.
Their father Fe’ao, a hooker won 32 caps for his country, figured in the 1995 and 1999 World Cups and played for Pontypool. He was head coach at Marlow, a South West One East club, before deciding to return home at the end of the past season.
Six of Billy’s uncles and his grandfather represented Tonga. The two brothers previously played alongside each other in the England U18 team and their careers have progressed from there.
Billy, like Mako, qualifies for England through residency and his favourite ground is Twickenham, even though he has not played there. He said: “The atmosphere is crazy.” In an impressive finish to the 2011-12 season he took his Aviva Premiership appearances for London Wasps to ten overall, including seven this year. His maiden try was on his debut against Leeds Carnegie in April 2011 and he added a second against Saracens last February.
Educated at the Castle School, Bristol, he went on to Harrow to study Photography, Design Technology, Physical Education and Business with aspirations of becoming a world renowned photographer.
A member of the London Wasps Academy, he played for Bristol in 2007-08 and has benefited from the England U18 coaching team of John Fletcher and Peter Walton.
Billy added: “Both have shown great belief and brought me through even though I thought I was just average. The players I most admire are those who are humble and hard working such as George Ford, our captain two years ago”
U20 International Record
2012 World Championship It, SA, I(R), A(R)
Last updated: July 2, 2012