Billy Vunipola

Billy Vunipola: Saracens and England player would take pay cut to avoid burnout

Vunipola learned on Sunday he will be out for four months after injuring a knee during Sarries' defeat of Sale.

The 24-year-old had only recently returned after a year blighted by knee and shoulder problems, the latter forcing him out of the Lions tour.

Speaking prior to his latest setback, he said "something has to change".

"I didn't enjoy being on the surgery table twice in one year and that's supposed to be deemed as normal," he told BBC Radio 5 live's Rugby Union Weekly podcast.

Vunipola back in October

The barnstorming number eight missed the British and Irish Lions tour due to the injury, having returned from a four-month layoff due to a knee problem in March.

Sarries director of rugby Mark McCall confirmed the England international is not scheduled to return until October, although he did not rule out Vunipola playing before then.

"He's in great condition at the moment and chomping at the bit," McCall said.

"Billy's due back some time in October, but in true Billy style he'll make it back considerably before that. 

Vunipola out of Lions tour

Vunipola had been nursing the injury throughout the Aviva Premiership while playing for Saracens.

England backrower James Haskell will replace Vunipola and will join the camp following the Premiership final this weekend.

Vunipola, who was born in Australia, has played 34 tests for England and was expected to be the starting number eight for the Lions in their three-test series against the All Blacks.

Lions coach Warren Gatland said he was disappointed for Vunipola, who had been looking forward to joining the squad

Vunipola urges England to push on

Eddie Jones' side clinched the Six Nations title on Saturday by trouncing Scotland 61-21 at Twickenham and now stand one victory away from a second Grand Slam in succession and surpassing the All Blacks' 18-game tier-one world-record winning run.

England must beat Ireland in Dublin next weekend to achieve those goals and Vunipola, who returned from injury as a replacement against Scotland, is eager for the team to continue improving as they seek to replace the All Blacks at the top of the rankings.

Billy Vunipola poised for England return after successful comeback for Saracens

The 24-year-old British and Irish Lions tour certainty had been out since November with a knee injury, but he showed no ill effects in a 72-minute performance in Saracens'  35-27 win over the Newcastle Falcons on Monday (NZ Time)

Vunipola's display had English media outlets speculating that he could be recalled to Eddie Jones' England squad for next Sunday's Six Nations game against Scotland.

Saracens built up a big lead at Newcastle before the Falcons rallied with two late tries before stalling in their bid to win two bonus points.

VIDEO: 2015 Rugby World Cup Daily round-up

Vunipola has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a knee ligament strain.

Harlequins number eight Nick Easter, 37, who has 52 Test caps, has been called up as a replacement.

England have played two games in the World Cup. They beat Fiji 35-11 followed by a defeat against Wales on Saturday,

They are third in Pool A and face Australia at Twickenham on Saturday and Uruguay a week later, with the top two progressing to the quarter-finals.