BLOEMFONTEIN – Props Mako Vunipola and Ellis Genge have left England’s tour of South Africa with Exeter Chiefs' Alec Hepburn called up as a replacement, officials said on Sunday.
Vunipola is heading back to England for family reasons by prior arrangement with team management, while Genge sustained a knee injury in training during the week.
Hepburn, 25, has two previous caps, both from this year’s Six Nations, with the last against Wales at Twickenham on Feb. 10. He will link up with the squad at their training base outside Durban ahead of the third and final test against the Springboks in Cape Town on Saturday. The Boks have already secured the series with an unassailable 2-0 lead, but could inflict a sixth test defeat in a row on Eddie Jones’ ailing England.
England have not lost six tests in a row since they went on a seven-match losing streak in 2006, though they made the World Cup final the following year, losing to South Africa in the decider.