Family ties are at the heart of what makes the Saracens front-rower tick

Who is Mako Vunipola: Ten things you need to know about the England prop

Mako Vunipola is one of the outstanding props of his generation, possessing a rare ability in the loose for his position through his pass-catch skills. He has appeared more than 60 times for England, including in two Rugby World Cups, and has also been selected for the British & Irish Lions.

Here’s some more about the Saracens loosehead…

Ten things you need to know about Mako Vunipola

1. Mako Vunipola was born on 14 January 1991 in Wellington, New Zealand. His father is former Tonga captain Fe’ao Vunipola, while his mother Iesinga is a senior Methodist minister.

2. His brother is Saracens and England No 8 Billy, who has also earned more than 60 caps for the national team.

3. The Vunipola brothers grew up in South Wales and then Thornbury, near Bristol. This meant Mako started his career at Bristol Rugby, making 40 appearances for the club.

4. Their family is also close with the Faletaus and the brothers describe Wales No 8 Taulupe Faletau as their ‘cousin’.

Mako Vunipola and Taulupe Faletau have been selected for three British & Irish Lions tours, with both part of the Lions 2021 squad to tour South Africa.

5. England first capped Mako Vunipola in October 2012, when he played in the autumn International against Fiji. He replaced Joe Marler in a 54-12 win.

Who is Mako Vunipola

Vunipola training before his England debut in 2012 (Getty Images)

6. Vunipola was forced to miss England’s 2020 Six Nations match against Wales over coronavirus fears. He had to self-isolate after a flight from Hong Kong.

7. He signed a new long-term contract with Saracens in July 2020, whom he has represented more than 170 times.

8. In England camp he is nicknamed ‘Snorlax’ for his ability to sleep anywhere at anytime.

9. He is one of the most decorated players in the UK, having won four Premiership titles with Saracens (2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019), and three European Champions Cups (2016, 2017 and 2019).

10. His two sons are named Joshua and Jacob, who he has had with partner Alex Johns.

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