Sep 06, 2017
Mako Vunipola Hopeful of Season Debut Against Bath
Hopeful of making his season debut this weekend, Mako Vunipola is chomping at the bit to take on a physical Bath side.
The prop, who took part in his second British and Irish Lions tour this summer, spoke about the challenges of returning from New Zealand, as well as trying to keep Saracens’ momentum going at the Rec on Saturday (kick-off 14H00).
Watching Sarries’ 55-24 thrashing of Northampton from the stands at Twickenham, Vunipola couldn’t contain the itch to get out there.
He said: “Whenever it’s a big game like that and playing at Twickenham, you obviously want to be out there challenging and helping the boys out.”
Now, all his focus is on getting on the team sheet to face Bath, who themselves opened with an impressive 23-27 away win over Leicester Tigers.
Eager for the challenge, Vunipola said: “They are very physical in defence. As a pack of forwards, they lead from the front and we know what kind of challenge they pose to us. We have to stand up to that.
“They’ve always had good players on the ball, always been renowned for being good tacklers.
“At the weekend, our attack was very free flowing, everyone was doing their bit, reacted to where they were needed. But every week you have to take it as a new game and a new slate, so we can’t go in with the mindset that it’s going to happen again. It’s up to us to try and get that same speed of ball for the backs and step up our physicality in defence.”
Although match fit, director of rugby Mark McCall has been hesitant so far to bring Lions tourists back too soon. Injuries forced Maro Itoje and George Kruis into action last weekend, though McCall is confident resting players has been the right decision.
Vunipola, having the experience of a previous Lions tour, made sure he is ready for the call up when needed.
He said: “Over the summer I’ve tried to rest mentally more than physically, get away with family and friends and have a good time away from rugby so I can come into this now ready to go.
“It’s just getting back into that mindset of getting off the floor as quick as I can, and getting back in the game.”
Saturday’s team won’t be announced until later this week, though McCall spoke positively yesterday about the chances of more Lions returning in one way or another this weekend.