England right to include Mako Vunipola in World Cup squad, says Will Greenwood
Last Updated: 11/09/19 6:23pm
England head coach Eddie Jones was right to include injured prop Mako Vunipola in his World Cup squad, according to Will Greenwood.
Vunipola suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury during last month's 57-15 win over Ireland, while Jack Nowell recently required emergency surgery to remove his appendix during a warm-weather training camp in Italy.
Despite their lack of fitness, the pair were both included in England's 31-man squad for the tournament and Greenwood insists they deserved to travel to Japan.
"There are certain players who you've just got to go 'get on the plane' whether you've got a knock or not," Greenwood told Sky Sports News.
"Very rarely after four warm-up games so close to a World Cup are you going to have all 31 players 100 per cent fit ready to compete.
"You don't want to exclude someone from the opportunity of going because of a slight hamstring niggle."
England's build-up to the World Cup included games against Wales, Ireland and Italy and Greenwood is confident those Test matches will have provided adequate preparation for the tournament.
"If you go and have Test matches against New Zealand and South Africa you might end up with ten men in Japan with injuries," said Greenwood.
"So there's always got to be a balance between a thorough physical and mental test but at the same time you don't want to sacrifice any players on the altar of 1 per cent," he said.
"It's that trade-off between wanting to be physically match fit but we want everyone available for selection and rugby poses that dilemma."
Danny Care was not selected for the final World Cup squad despite being fully fit, with New Zealand-born Willi Heinz included instead.
Care has questioned the residency rules surrounding international selection while, from 2020, players will have to live in a country for five years before representing that nation.
Greenwood understands why Care feels aggrieved but believes Jones must select the strongest squad possible.
"People will say well 'is it rewarding English talent?' but Eddie Jones's job is to win the World Cup not necessarily nurture English talent," he said.
"I think they've made big strides in extending it [residency] to five years. I don't think it's daft for that person to be allowed to represent that country."