December 5 2013 Latest news:
By Nick Wright
Friday, September 13, 2013
Prop Rhys Gill says he is happy to welcome fierce competition from Mako Vunipola at Saracens this season after the England international impressed on the British and Irish Lions’ victorious tour of Australia.
Vunipola made his Test debut against Fiji in November last year and the 22-year-old’s rapid progress continued as he made four appearances for the Lions Down Under.
Wales international Gill was given the nod in Sarries’ Aviva Premiership opener against London Irish at Twickenham last week, but Vunipola grabbed a try after replacing him in the second half as the Hendon outfit triumphed 42-20.
Gill, who has again been selected for Sunday’s visit of Gloucester to Allianz Park, knows he has a fight on his hands to keep his place in Mark McCall’s side, but he is happy with squad rotation and says his fellow loosehead’s progress is good news for Saracens.
“The competition is brilliant, he’s a quality player,” Gill said ahead of Sunday’s round two clash against Gloucester at Allianz Park.
“He went with the British Lions in the summer, he’s got great potential and he’s a great prospect.
“It’s good to have someone fighting for your position. We’ve got rotation at the moment, play two games, rest two games, so when you get a chance you’ve just got to try and play as well as you can and try and keep that shirt for the big games.”
Gill believes Vunipola is reaping the rewards of his experience with the Lions.
“He’s a lot more arrogant,” he joked. “He’s gained a lot of experience. Playing at that level, you would.
“Being around those sort of guys is a great experience for him at that young age. He’s come back and he’s trying to put what he’s learnt there into our game at Saracens.”
Gill was delighted to kick off the Premiership season with victory over London Irish and he is looking for more of the same against Gloucester.
“It was a good start to the season,” he said. “It was a tough game, but we came through with the bonus point at the end which is what we wanted.
“Even though we didn’t get the complete performance, we still got the result, and hopefully we can take that into the next game.”
Gill is also delighted to be back in contention for his country and is hoping to add to his five caps this season.
“My target is to play as much as I can and hopefully, if all goes well, go with the Welsh squad and get some games under my belt there as well,” he said.
“I went to Japan in the summer which was a good experience and hopefully now I can keep building for the Tests.”