Billy and Mako no longer strongest Vunipolas after 92kg cousin’s heroics
Step aside Billy and Mako Vunipola, you might both be 120kg+ Test forwards, but you are no longer the strongest players in your family. That title now goes to their 92kg fly-half cousin Manu Vunipola following the try he scored against Bath on Saturday in the Gallagher Premiership.
The 23-year-old was deputising for Owen Farrell in the No10 jersey at the Rec in a much-changed Saracens outfit, but produced a feat of strength that both his cousins would be proud of.
After fielding a kick in the back field, Manu was able to shrug off the tackle of two players from a standing start. While one of those was opposite man Orlando Bailey, the other was No8 Miles Reid, which makes the feat of strength all the more impressive. While Billy and Mako could claim to be able to do what Manu initially did, they are not able to do what came next. After breaking Bath’s kick chase defensive line, the No10 exhibited his pace to skin fullback Matt Gallagher and run in for a try from 60 metres out in an epic display of strength and power.
Take a look at the try:
One man show 🤯
Manu Vunipola shrugs off the chasing defenders to score a worldie for @Saracens ⚫️🔴
Watch live on @btsportrugby 📺#GallagherPrem | #BATvSAR pic.twitter.com/dvpyHb3v5s
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) May 6, 2023
Despite this wonder-try, Manu’s side were on the receiving end of a heavy 61-29 loss. But having already finished top of the Premiership table, this was an opportunity for Saracens to play some of their fringe players and even hand out debuts. The team will certainly have a different complexion come this Saturday when they host Northampton Saints in the semi-final.
Looking ahead to that match, Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said: “We don’t take these things (semi-finals) for granted and we are looking forward to it. To get a home semi-final is exactly what you want.
“They (Northampton) are a very good team, an unbelievably dangerous team, full of talented players in their squad. And this is their second semi-final in a row, so they have shown some really good consistency as well.”