Planet Rugby

We were bullied - Vunipola

27th January 2014 11:11


SKY_MOBILE Joe Marler Mako Vunipola England

Confident: Mako Vunipola

England prop Mako Vunipola admits his side must be wary of another physically dominant French display when they meet on Saturday.

Vunipola was part of a Saracens pack that were outplayed and outfought in the tight exchanges in their recent Heineken Cup loss at Toulouse.

"In the Toulouse game, we were bullied at the breakdown and we weren't as good as the French players at getting over the ball," Vunipola told the London Evening Standard.

"This is a big area for us to concentrate on in the build-up to Saturday - we have to win that breakdown battle.

"We know what threats the French pose, particularly through their big pack and they can be a very dominant group of forwards.

"As a squad we have learned from the Welsh defeat because we want to win the Six Nations and we are targeting the French game. It is a tough start but, hopefully, we can do it."

The 23-year-old prop says he feels more mature and at home in the England set-up a year on from his debut, and after touring with the British and Irish Lions in June and July last year.

"I feel a different player a year on. It's been a great experience coming into a new environment with England and then going on tour with the Lions.

"I definitely feel more confident in my ability coming into this second Six Nations and I really want to take advantage of this opportunity," said Vunipola.

"I feel everything is a bit more familiar in terms of coaching and training but if I rest on my laurels I will be left behind because we have players coming into the squad all the time and I have to keep my head down, keep training and try to impress the coaches.

"There is a great group of loosehead props with Alex Coribisero, Joe Marler and Matt Mullan and we are lucky to have so many players and we all help each other out.

"I think I get on well with Joe because we are different personalities and I have known him since the England Under-18s and we do like to enjoy ourselves. I have known him from the time when he had long, sensible hair and no beard all the way through the different styles and various beards! He has had a few dodgy hair cuts over the years but that's Joe for you. He is a great laugh and a really good guy."

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