Our bronze medallist in the list of the Top 100 Players in the World goes to England prop Mako Vunipola.

The 100 Best Players In The World: 3 Mako Vunipola

3 Mako Vunipola

Age 28 (14 January 1991) Position Prop

News that a torn hamstring would compromise his Rugby World Cup preparations sent tremors through the England camp. The loosehead’s prodigious work-rate – as a carrier and tackler – makes him the world’s leading prop when supplemented by his growing authority as a scrummager.

Club and Country: Mako has had success at every level of the game (Getty Images)

We named him at No 27 in our previous ‘best players’ list but his remorseless physicality has since gone up a notch. Against Cardiff Blues in December, he marked his first outing for two months with eight gain-line successes, a 100% tackle success, three defenders beaten and a broken nose – “It was bent anyway,” he quipped. It was a typically robust performance, and one that he was to repeat in England’s superb win in Dublin at the start of the Six Nations.

Basic stats fail to convey the bruising dominance he brings to collisions. Nor should his jackling skills be overlooked, Saracens sometimes deploying him just behind the defensive line close to the ruck where he’s ready to pounce for a turnover following the tackle.

Bone Jarring: Vunipola puts in a big hit on Gael Fickou (Getty Images)

The double Lion collects Man of the Match awards like others collect trinkets and after another of those, in last year’s Premiership final, Alex Goode spoke for his appreciative Saracens team-mates.

“The involvement Mako has, and for them all to be so positive – carries, hits, decision-making – is brilliant. He’s a massive leader for us. He’s a joy to play with – a brilliant, brilliant player.”

Don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook and Twitter.