Billy Vunipola knows he has yet to prove himself to England manager Eddie Jones

Billy Vunipola improved his World Cup prospects during the Tour of England but the Saracen number eight insists he must influence Eddie Jones again when autumn comes into view.

Vunipola started the season with a bang, complementing his man of the afternoon against the Harlequins with an influential postponement in Saturday’s dramatic comeback win over Gloucester.

The injuries to Alex Dombrandt and Sam Simmonds ended his international exile in July and although the 29-year-old played a strong role in the 2-1 win over the Wallabies, he knows his rivals are ready to assert themselves.

“The World Championship is obviously a goal, but I have to focus on what’s right in front of me and not on what’s further down,” said Vunipola.

“I was happy with how it went, but I can still do better. I can always be fitter. That’s the challenge for me. It’s an exciting challenge for me.

“I don’t think I’ve reestablished myself. I feel like I’m putting myself in a position to ask questions to get re-selected, but I can only do that if I play well week in and week out.

“You never know what can happen, what’s around the corner, so it’s important to focus on everyday life.

“When you fall over yourself, you don’t focus on the hurdle that’s right in front of you.”

Vunipola admits the easiest of all decisions was to end the 10-week stand-down period early for players involved at the time of the England tour by returning early against Harlequins.

“For me it’s a back and forth. Either run without the ball or play. What would you do?! It was easy for me,” he said. Billy Vunipola knows he has yet to prove himself to England manager Eddie Jones

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