Ireland's CJ Stander looking forward to battle with England talisman Billy Vunipola
Last Updated: 30/01/19 4:46pm
Ireland No 8 CJ Stander is looking forward to his battle against his opposite number Billy Vunipola when England visit the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday.
Vunipola is in line to play just his fifth Test in 27 months after putting a series of injuries behind him, including three broken arms and several knee issues.
Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has warned his side against England's "brutality" and the hard-carrying Vunipola will be at the forefront of that, though Stander knows there is plenty of subtlety to the Saracens star's game also.
Stander explained: "Billy Vunipola is a power athlete. He has footwork to him as well and soft hands. A lot of people think he is just going to run over people, but he is actually an all-rounder.
"If you look at what he has done for Saracens this year, he is playing quite well.
"It's a good match-up; I have played against him before. The last time I think I was blindside, but it doesn't really matter. He's another big threat for them.
"I think they are going to bring physicality, but smarts as well. If you look back over November and those games, they actually spread the ball quite well.
"They have a lot of power in their squad and those threats on the edges, they scored good tries in the November Series, and that is something we need to look at."