Rookie Vunipola ready to face world’s best, say England chiefs

UNCAPPED Saracens prop Mako Vunipola has been backed to take the England set-up by storm after the 21-year-old was called up for next month’s autumn internationals.

The youngster is one of four changes to the squad for Tests against Fiji, Australia. South Africa and New Zealand, with Leicester hooker Tom Youngs also in line for a debut and experienced duo Ugo Monye and James Haskell recalled.

Loosehead Vunipola, who was born in Wellington but is of Tongan descent, has only made five starts for Sarries but England forwards coach Graham Rowntree insists he is ready to face the world’s elite.

“I’ve no doubt he’ll make his name in this autumn series. I’ve got every confidence in him. I’m looking for a fault in his game and I can’t find one at the moment,” said Rowntree.

“He has got himself fit. His form has been exceptional. I like his commitment to every aspect of the game. He is a dynamic ball-carrier and he loves a scrum. He respects all the hard yards, the tackling, the clearing out, the scrummaging. He’s got his priorities right.”


Forwards: M Botha, D Cole, J Haskell,
P Dowson, D Hartley, T Johnson,
C Lawes, J Marler, B Morgan, T Palmer,
G Parling, C Robshaw, M Vunipola,
T Waldrom, D Wilson, T Wood,
T Youngs

Backs: A Allen, C Ashton, B Barritt,
M Brown, D Care, L Dickson, O Farrell,
T Flood, A Goode, J Joseph, U Monye,
C Sharples, M Tuilagi, J Turner-Hall,
B Youngs
*Captain to be named on Tuesday