Mako Vunipola relished the challenge the Georgian scrum laid down in training, as England prepared for Scotland against one of the most feared packs in the game.
Eddie Jones, the England head coach, invited the ‘biggest, strongest and ugliest’ forwards in the world to London on Tuesday – and the teams will resume their battle on Wednesday.
It is the second time England have faced another Test nation’s forwards in training, after the ‘Battle of Bristol’ session against Wales last autumn.
Mako Vunipola (right) pictured in England training against Georgia’s forward
Eddie Jones invited to Georgians (left) to help England prepare for Scotland in Six Nations
Vunipola believes the two days with Georgia will help England ahead of Scotland showdown
And loose-head prop Vunipola thinks it will make them battle-hardened.
‘They were very motivated to prove they’re a good pack,’ he said. ‘It was a good tussle. As a team we learned a lot and it’s always good to come up against something different.
‘When you’re always scrummaging each other, you negate each other in some ways. We learned some things against Georgia which we’ve taken on board.
‘We had to learn on the go and that’s the main thing we took out of the session – it wasn’t always going to go our way or be what we expected, it was different, but it’s good to expect anything.
‘It wasn’t a case of who won or anything like that, both teams had their goals and overall we got out of the session what we wanted. When you scrum against the French or Italians you face regularly, it’s different when you come up against Georgia.’
Jones was amazed at the work Vunipola put in against Wales in his 77-minute showing. Official statistics showed the prop made 15 carries, 17 tackles, scrummaged 13 times and lifted in 15 lineouts.
‘It’s remarkable the work that props get through, and he does it with quality,’ said the England boss.
‘When he came off he was absolutely exhausted. He was absolutely outstanding.’ And Vunipola admitted that he was tired.
‘Eddie wasn’t wrong he said that about me being exhausted, I was shattered,’ he said.
‘The recovery we’ve done since has been good and helped me get the body right for the Georgia scrummaging session. I’m looked after very well by the staff.
Vunipola made 15 carries, 17 tackles, scrummaged 13 times and lifted in 15 lineouts v Wales
Jones praised Vunipola’s performance after the 12-6 win over Wales at Twickenham
‘I’m very happy with the way things are going. I’m feeling confident and I prepare well, which means your team-mates have confidence in you and you can go out and do your job.’
And the Saracens prop, 27, says the focus now switches to beating Scotland on the road to an historic third consecutive championship title – and maybe even a second Grand Slam in three years.
‘We’ll prepare well this week and get clarity on what we want to do at Murrayfield,’ he added.
‘We’re going into the game confident, but we know from that game against France how strong they are.’