Saracens can now count on Billy Vunipola following the successful appeal that overturned his red card.

Billy Vunipola’s red card, which he received during Saracens’ Champions Cup game against the Bulls on Saturday in South Africa, has been reversed. This means that the England No 8 will be available for Saturday’s European match against Connacht.

Vunipola was sent off early in the second half by the Italian referee, Andrea Piardi, for making a dangerous strike to the head area of the Bulls forward, Cameron Hanekom. The 31-year-old, who appeared before an independent disciplinary panel via video link, admitted that he had committed a foul play, but disputed that it deserved a red card.

European Professional Club Rugby stated, “The committee established that Vunipola had engaged in a foul play. However, it concluded that the force in the contact with Hanekom’s head was not sufficient to warrant a red card, and therefore, the red card was overturned. Vunipola is now eligible to play immediately, and EPCR has the option to challenge the decision.”

Saracens suffered a 27-16 defeat against the Bulls in the first of their four Champions Cup pool games.

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