Wrecking-ball forwards Nathan Hughes and Billy Vunipola could thrive in the same England back-row, according to Wasps loose-forward George Smith.

Former Australia openside flanker Smith will partner Hughes in Wasps’ European Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens in Reading on Saturday.

Bullish ball-carrying loose-forwards Hughes and Vunipola will collide with European glory on the line this weekend, but could ultimately become England team-mates in the fullness of time.

And Smith insists the pair could forge a devastating combination, despite their similar strengths.


Smith said:

Definitely there is scope for them to play together in the same England back-row. All back-rowers have to have the ability to play all three of the positions, you don’t want to be one-dimensional in the way you play the game.

You don’t want a number eight just to have the specific skills for that position, he has to have the ability to switch between six and seven as well. You’ve got to be able to jump in the lineout, link up with the backs. It’s a non-negotiable for back-rowers I think, that’s just my personal view.