Saracens prop Mako Vunipola wants to improve set pieces against Harlequins

Mako Vunipola (bottom) in action against Northampton at Allianz Park on Saturday

Mako Vunipola (bottom) in action against Northampton at Allianz Park on Saturday - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Saracens prop Mako Vunipola is looking for an improvement at the set piece ahead of Saturday’s trip to Harlequins – and he also hopes that he and his team-mates can get off to a better start than they did in their latest victory.

Sarries maintained their winning start to their Premiership campaign at the weekend, securing their third successive triumph as they overcame Northampton Saints 27-12 at Allianz Park.

However, they had to come from behind to do so, having been penalised heavily in the scrum in the first half and trailed 12-9 in the second period.

Jamie George then went over the line to put the Hendon-based outfit into the lead, and a penalty try then increased the advantage as Saracens ran out victorious again – but Vunipola is determined to iron out the errors that hampered their efforts before the upcoming clash with Harlequins.

“They have a lot of good players and we have to improve certain areas from the weekend, especially in the set piece,” the England forward told Ham&High Sport.

“We weren’t up to scratch there and it’s frustrating on my part, so we’ll look at what we can to do to improve that.

“It was tough [against Northampton]. It was very niggly, very close and tight, but we got some ascendancy in our maul and luckily we got the rewards off that. We’re just thankful we got the win.

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“The message at half-time was ‘just don’t make mistakes and don’t get frustrated by that’ really – just stick to what we do.

“We knew they had a strong pack behind them and we had to use that element to their game.

“For us it was really just about playing in the right area and knowing we had to move the ball a bit more. First and foremost it was about looking after the ball – and we didn’t for a while – and then also stepping up on the counter as well.

“We know they gave us a good game and we have to play better than that.

“Credit to them, they made it tough from the first minute and the first half and we kind of went off the pace really.

“We talked about it last week, about a big start. It wasn’t what we hoped but we still came through it with the win behind us and we can use it the best way we can.

“We’ll go for a big start again this weekend. [Harlequins] will be at home with a big crowd behind them so we have to do our best not to let the crowd give them momentum.

“I think we’re very happy with how it’s gone, but it’s only three games and there’s still a long season to go. We know that.

“We’ve still got areas to improve on and need to step up even more now against Quins, who are always tough to go to at the Stoop.”