London - England coach Eddie Jones believes prop Mako Vunipola is close to becoming one of the best props in world rugby.
Vunipola, 25, has been in fine form for Premiership and European champions Saracens this season and Jones has been impressed with the player.
The Saracens forward has 35 Test caps to his name and is expected to be a key member of Jones’ side in their upcoming November internationals against South Africa, Fiji, Argentina and Australia.
“He’s galloping towards becoming a world-class player,” Jones was quoted as saying on England Rugby’s official website.
England are unbeaten under Jones with nine straight victories and are currently ranked No 1 in the world rankings behind New Zealand.
But Jones believes Vunipola is as a good as any of the New Zealand tight forwards.
“People talk about the skill-set the All Blacks have, well Mako’s got a skill-set better than all those All Black tight-forwards,” said Jones.
“His scrummaging is consistent and you can see he’s got that thirst to be good every game. Previously he was a bit up and down, now he’s starting to get that consistency.”
Jones also believes England are blessed in the front row with Harlequins prop Joe Marler returning to form along with the emerging talent of Ellis Genge.
“We are so lucky to have Mako and Joe Marler,” said Jones.
“Before his indiscretion Joe was ahead of Mako and then we have a young guy like Ellis Genge. We are blessed in that area.”
Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Alex Goode (Saracens), Mike Haley (Sale), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath), Henry Slade (Exeter), Ben Te'o (Worcester), Marland Yarde (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester)
Forwards: Dave Attwood (Bath), Josh Beaumont (Sale), Dan Cole (Leicester), Charlie Ewels (Bath), Ellis Genge (Leicester), Jamie George (Saracens), Teimana Harrison (Northampton), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Tommy Taylor (Wasps), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Tom Wood (Northampton)