Rugby Union

Neal Hatley says Mako Vunipola is quickly becoming the best loosehead prop in the world

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Football News

Mako Vunipola has been making the headlines recently after Alex Corbisiero dubbed him the best loosehead prop in the world after a barnstorming start to this season at Saracens that has helped them to top spot after 13 games.

England's scrum coach, Neal Hatley spoke of his recent performances.

"Mako has been absolutely outstanding for Saracens in the first half of the season," Hatley said, per Sky Sports

"There aren't many props in world rugby that can do what he does with the ball in hand. His set piece has come on immeasurably."

In open play, Vunipola is phenomenal, but his scrummaging has required work. Hatley argues that Vunipola's potential weakness in scrums has been ironed out thanks to a technical adjustment.

"Sometimes people get pigeon-holed as a carrying prop or a scrummaging prop and I think he crosses that divide," he added.

"He's been very sound from a set-piece point of view. We've made a few little technical changes to his bind and that's had a real positive effect."

Best loosehead

While Hatley doesn't say directly that he believes Mako Vunipola is the best loosehead prop in the world, he certainly has some kind words for the player.

"There are a lot of good players around, but he's definitely getting there in terms of being the best loosehead in the world. If Corbs said that, it's a pretty good endorsement."

South Africa's threat

Speaking on England's upcoming match against South Africa in Twickenham, Hatley says that South Africa's threat must not be underestimated, despite a string of poor performances - their worst run of results in a decade.

"They will probably go with a big pack and a big back five in the way they've tried to do for most of the year. It will be a good side.

"They have been in a state of flux, but when they've played well they have been very impressive. The Lions did well in Super Rugby. We're expecting a good side to turn up.

"They have a very good scrum and will probably load up on that back five. There will be big bulk there so it will be a testing day from a scrum point of view."

Hopefully, Mako Vunipola's increased ability in the scrums will help England overcome the threat South Africa present.

England host South Africa at Twickenham November 12, who will win? Let us know in the comments.

Jonny Wilkinson
England Rugby
South Africa Rugby
Rugby Union
IRB Rugby World Cup

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