Cape Town - Saracens captain Brad Barritt has warned South Africa that Mako Vunipola is the best prop in the world and will prove it for England in June's three-Test series against the Springboks.
The Springboks and England will do battle in three high-anticipated clashes at Ellis Park in Johannesburg (June 9), Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein (June 16) and Newlands in Cape Town (June 23).
The last time England visited South African shores was in 2012 when the Boks won the three-Test series, 2-0, with the Port Elizabeth clash ending in a draw.
According to the RugbyPass website, New Zealand-born Vunipola delivered another stand-out performance to power Saracens to a fourth Aviva Premiership title defeating reigning champions Exeter 27-10 at Twickenham last Saturday.
Barritt believes the Springboks will be prepared for the power Vunipola
is going bring to the Test series, but they will not have experienced
his all-round game which is so important to club and country.
Barritt said: “Mako is the pinnacle at the moment and without doubt
the best prop in the world. His impact on and off pitch is huge and he
is a leader which makes him even more special and the things he can do
are freakish for a loosehead prop.
“His consistency of performance is unparalleled and to have that many
impacts at set piece, ball carrying and tackling puts him on a
different page to anyone else. We are very proud to have him in our team
and he is someone who drives the club off the field as well as on it
which makes him an unbelievable player.
“I am sure South Africa
will realise that in the first game of the series and it would be naïve
to think they are not aware of his special talent and what a physical
specimen he is. In the last six weeks he has led this club with his
impact on the pitch and been the leader in all parts of the
Mako Vunipola, 27, is the older brother of Australian-born Billy, 25, who proved his fitness for the tour in the win over Exeter and both offer England head coach Eddie Jones real physicality.
England squad for SA tour:
Mike Brown (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Nathan Earle (Saracens)*, Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks), Danny Cipriani (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks)*, Dan Robson (Wasps)*, Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Spencer (Saracens)*, Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Ben Earl (Saracens)*, Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs)*, Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens) Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Brad Shields (Hurricanes/ Wasps)*, Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Jack Willis (Wasps)*, Mark Wilson (Newcastle), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)
*denotes uncapped player