Premiership: Saracens prop Mako Vunipola ready to face ‘two of the best’ in Leicester’s dynamic duo

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 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Saracens front-row Mako Vunipola has hailed the talents of Leicester Tigers’ outstanding front-rowers Ellis Genge and Dan Cole ahead of this weekend’s Premiership final.

The Midlanders have been superb throughout this campaign with their scrum becoming a potent weapon.

England internationals Genge and Cole have certainly led the charge for the Tigers and will pose a stern challenge for a similarly imposing Sarries pack.

Vunipola has found some excellent form himself, earning a recall to the Red Rose squad recently, and knows that this weekend’s set-piece battle will be crucial.

Work in the loose

All three Englishmen are far more than just scrummagers, however, with their work around the field also crucial components of their game.

“The days of a front-rower being a one-dimensional set-piece player are gone and we are playing against two of the best on the weekend in Ellis for obvious reasons – the way he not just works but the impact he has for them – and Dan as well. It goes under the radar how good a defender he is,” Saracens’ loosehead prop said.

Vunipola will be joined in the Sarries front-row by South African World Cup-winner Vincent Koch, who is another multi-dimensional prop.

“When Vinny first came he was alright, he was already quite fit. We were different in that way to get fit quite quickly,” the England forward said.

“Now props are expected to do everything in terms of set-piece but then getting around the park, being a good defender for your team but also when you get the opportunity you need to make an impact in attack.”

Props used to be a certain build but Vunipola believes that players like Genge and Koch are changing the mould of front-rowers.

“The ears give it away a little bit but a lot of these young boys coming out now are a bit more like back-rowers,” he said.

“If you saw me you’d say this guy is definitely a front-rower but if you saw Ellis or Vinny… Dan, you could probably tell (he is a prop) because of the way his head moves, there is not much movement there. But Ellis, you look at him and you wouldn’t think he is a prop, or Vinny as well. That is where the similarities end.

“Ellis and Dan are two people I know quite well, I played with them with England, and Vincent has been a stalwart for us. It is going to be an interesting battle. The similarity is that we are all good people. There are not many front-rowers who aren’t good lads.

“There is a front row union for a reason because of all the pain you have to go through, we understand it and there is a shared respect but I am sure come Saturday we will be out there trying to do our best for our team.”

Vunipola only recently returned from injury but says that he is fully fit and ready to go for this weekend’s Premiership final, despite suffering from the usual aches and pains.

When asked what issues he has to contend with during the week, the prop responded: “The usual, the neck always. Shoulders, back. It makes me laugh actually when I hear some of these backs say that they have got a sore back. I’d love to let them feel the same thing we have sometimes. Just the usual, neck, back, shoulders.

“We reviewed what happened at the weekend, looked at what things we can improve and we have got the right people around us here and the players understand we need to start better. Eventually, in that game, the scrum gave us that platform that we needed to see the game out.”

READ MORE: Springbok prop Vincent Koch on challenging period and how thankful he is to Saracens coaches

 

The article Premiership: Saracens prop Mako Vunipola ready to face ‘two of the best’ in Leicester’s dynamic duo appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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