England’s Billy Vunipola annoyed by ‘underdog’ tag against New Zealand
England number eight Billy Vunipola admits he was annoyed by the Red Rose's "underdog" tag ahead of their loss to New Zealand
A bullish Billy Vunipola has admitted he was annoyed by England’s “underdog” tag ahead of their 30-22 loss to New Zealand on Saturday.
Stuart Lancaster’s men weren’t fancied to beat the All Blacks, who were gunning for a 13th successive win in 2013, despite a memorable 38-21 triumph against the World Cup holders last year.
New Zealand justified their billing by racing into a 17-3 lead before the Red Rose rallied and held a two-point advantage courtesy of a Joe Launchbury try and Owen Farrell’s accuracy with the boot.
But the All Blacks showed their class as Julian Savea scored his second try of the afternoon at Twickenham which helped New Zealand secure an eight-point win.
However, 21-year-old Vunipola, who was England’s man-of-the-match against the world champions, believes Lancaster’s men proved that they are capable of competing with the All Blacks.
“I was annoyed with everyone saying we were underdogs – ‘All Blacks this, All Blacks that, maybe England aren’t good enough yet’,” Vunipola said.
“But we showed against them that we are good enough by pushing them as far as we did.
“I was pretty happy that they kicked the ball to me straight away.
“After watching the Haka and seeing them, I just wanted to get the ball and go at them.
“They kept kicking the ball to me and I was more than happy to take it!”