British and Irish Lions: Mako Vunipola keen to take chance
Last Updated: 13/06/13 10:16am
Mako Vunipola: few would have predicted he would make the Lions squad a few months ago
Mako Vunipola is hoping he has done enough to convince British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland that he is worthy of a place in the Test team.
Vunipola was a long shot for the Test team when the initial 37-man squad to tour Australia was announced, with the loosehead having started just one match for England.
However a series of impressive displays, combined with injuries to Cian Healy and Gethin Jenkins, means Vunipola is in a strong position to tackle the Wallabies on June 22.
The 22-year-old, who will make his fourth appearance of the tour against the Waratahs on Saturday, said: "Every player wants to play in the Tests obviously, but I knew with Gethin and Cian here - two solid Test props - that I had my work cut out for me.
"I knew I had to work hard if I wanted to push myself for that Test team. It's been going well and hopefully I've got my foot in."
With Jenkins and Healy having headed home, Vunipola's England team-mate Alex Corbisiero and Scotland's Ryan Grant have joined the squad.
And Vunipola knows he is far from guaranteed to start when the Tests get under way.
"The coaches wouldn't have brought them in if they didn't feel they were good enough," said Vunipola. "So for me it's just the same, keeping my head down, keep working hard.
"So far it has been pleasing, I played more than most players. Personally, it's been alright, (the) coaches are happy with what I've been doing. Obviously there's still room to improve."