Athletes are bringing milk's many nutrients back into the spotlight.

Billy Vunipola is on a diet of milk and vitamin D tablets to try to rid himself of an injury curse that has seen him break his arms three times in 10 months.

The Saracens and England No8 will play the second match of his latest comeback in the Heineken Champions Cup against Lyon.

And ahead of the biggest year of his life, which includes the World Cup and his wedding back in Tonga, Vunipola has one wish.

‘I won’t say “stay fit” because that is just accepting staying fit and mediocre,’ he said. ‘I don’t just want to be fit, I want to be fit and good. I don’t want to be the same player, I want to be better.’

When taking blood tests after breaking his left arm against Glasgow in October, having previously fractured his right on two separate occasions, it was discovered that Vunipola was deficient in vitamin D, which might have contributed to his horrible injury run.

‘My skin colour and not having much sun has affected it,’ added the 26-year-old before admitting he is drinking vast quantities of milk to strengthen his bones.

‘I have started drinking a lot more milk,’ he said. ‘Cheese as well but I can’t eat too much cheese. Camembert is my favourite!’

Vunipola admitted he was scared on his try-scoring return at Sale last Friday but after so many setbacks has learned to take his time.

‘I think God wanted me to be afraid,’ he said. ‘Before I was a bit too confident to the point of thinking I’m invincible. That’s why I got injured again. I was becoming too big for my shoes. You don’t know it’s happening until you realise how much you rate yourself.

‘It’s hard when people keep talking about you. This time I want to keep my head down and work hard.

‘At Sale I was a bit tentative and anxious. Before I was a bit naive that I could fall straight into it, whereas now I’m a bit more prepared. And scared. Not of being injured, but the process of coming back is the hardest thing.

‘It’s a good thing to have that fear. I don’t think I had it before. I guess that came down to me being complacent.

‘I’m hoping it’ll only be a few games then I can get into it and start flying in. I want to play, I want to experience Twickenham and the Six Nations again.’

Vunipola now wears protective pads on each arm, but hopes to reduce the thickness of them each week as he becomes more confident.

Meanwhile, Saracens forward Maro Itoje is fit to face Lyon, having recovered from chipping his kneecap last month.

Daily Mail