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Tributes fly in as Vunipola announces international retirement

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Friday Jan 12, 2024

Mako Vunipola has announced his retirement from international rugby after years at the very top. The Saracens player debuted for England at only 21 years of age, and in that time he has achieved over 70 caps for the national side, including a World Cup final.

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In a statement, the 32-year-old said: “It’s been an honour to have represented my country but all good things must come to an end. The time has come to step away now. There have been lots of highs and lows. Would love to thank everyone who have helped me along the way.

“To my wife @alex_vunipola thank you for taking care of our family and all your support. Words don’t do it justice. To my parents I’m eternally grateful for all you have sacrificed for me to be here. Malo aupito and Ofa atu.”

Former teammate Jacques Burger said: “You are a legend mate. Been a pleasure sharing the field with you”, whilst the Watson brothers, Marcus and Anthony, both echoed their own respects to the former international.

Another former Saracens teammate, Brad Barrett added: “Congrats on a fantastic @englandrugby career Mako! A real privilege to play alongside you pal!”.

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BARNET, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 01: Joe Heyes of Leicester Tigers takes on Billy Vunipola and Mako Vunipola during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Saracens and Leicester Tigers at the StoneX Stadium on October 01, 2022 in Barnet, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Other mentions include the likes of Mike Brown and Bundee Aki, amongst many others.

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