New diet helping Vunipola

Date published: August 22 2015

England number eight Billy Vunipola has ditched the jelly babies and lost seven kilograms ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Along with sweets Vunipola has been working on his diet and is seeing the benefits in training, with a first chance on the field coming on Saturday against France in Paris.

Admitting that opting for a salad wasn't his usual choice, Vunipola gave credit to England's support staff for being "a massive help."

"Salad and vegetables are what I've been eating that I wouldn't eat normally. If you ever go to a Tongan dinner you would never see salad on the table. If it is there, it is probably the flowers decorating the table," Vunipola said.

"I usually don't go too often to my mum and dad's house. If I do go over it's between lunchtime and dinner so no one is cooking – I try and keep it safe.

"Mum just did the best for us and we didn't know when we were kids. The dieticians and nutritionists have been a massive help for us. My knowledge in knowing the types of food to eat and portion size have improved.

"There is always temptation, but what has helped me a lot is my knowledge. I never knew bread or pasta was bad for you. Or even jelly babies – I thought they gave you energy!"

Without that extra energy boost Vunipola has come through pre-season and revealed that he feels sharper and fitter than ever.

"I wouldn't say I've enjoyed pre-season, but we got through it. It's helped me improve my physical appearance and in getting around the field," Vunipola revealed.

"It's about trying to get more out of me – to be more powerful and to play the full 80 minutes to a better level. This is probably the fittest I've ever been.

"Hopefully I will be faster and more explosive, while also able to get over the ball and not be easily moved. Now I'm covering more distance. Hopefully we will see against France if it has helped."