England will miss Vunipola leadership for Wales clash, says Steve Borthwick

Mako Vunipola receives acclaim from his team-mates during England's Six Nations win at Dublin's Aviva Stadium -- Feb. 02, 2019. David Rogers - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images

England will miss the leadership of prop Mako Vunipola, who has been ruled out of the side's remaining Six Nations Championship campaign, forwards coach Steve Borthwick has said.

England, who lead the table with 10 points, lost Vunipola to an ankle ligament injury in their 44-8 victory over France. The 28-year-old had played a pivotal role in England's stunning win over holders Ireland with a team-high 11 carries and 27 tackles.

"He's an exceptional player. The leadership he gives, the presence he has, and the effect he has on those around him, that's incredibly significant," Borthwick was quoted as saying by British media.

"The fundamentals of his game - scrum, his work in the tight, his mauling work, his line-out work, his set-piece work - are exceptional. And on top of that he is making 20-odd tackles a game and carrying the ball 15 times.

"His work-rate is absolutely phenomenal. It's a big loss and I'm really disappointed for him and disappointed for the team."

Borthwick said the side have the strength in depth with Ellis Genge and Ben Moon set to compete for Vunipola's spot, although Genge was withdrawn from Thursday's training session with a sore ankle.

"Ben Moon and Ellis Genge have some real strengths as well. We have seen that before in an England shirt. I am looking forward to seeing how these guys take their opportunity."

England play second-placed Wales in Cardiff on Feb. 23 in a potential title decider and head coach Eddie Jones named 25 players for a three-day training camp in London earlier this week.

Wales' skills coach Neil Jenkins told reporters they would be playing for second place in the championship if they fail to beat England at the Principality Stadium:

""The reality for us is it's a game we need to win to give us a chance of winning the title.

"No disrespect, because I hope both Scotland and Italy [who play England in their last two fixtures] do turn up at Twickenham and play exceptionally well, but the reality is if we lose we would be playing for second.

"As a Welshman, it's not far off being the be-all and end-all type of game. That's what it is for us."