HE may be down the pecking order currently for England, but London Wasp Matt Mullan is determined to impress Stuart Lancaster and become a regular ahead of next year’s World Cup.
Mullan made his England debut in 2010 but has struggled to establish himself under first Martin Johnson and now Lancaster.
The likes of Alex Corbisierio, Mako Vunipola, Joe Marler and Dan Cole are all preferred choices in the front row.
The 27-year-old has been an ever-present in the England Six Nations squad this season but once again has been overlooked for the visit of Wales to Twickenham this weekend.
Mullan was retained alongside Leicester’s Manu Tuilagi to help provide squad competition at England’s Pennyhill Park training base this week, but it’s competitive action he now craves. The former Worcester prop, who spent eight years at Sixways, insists his switch to South West London and the opportunity to team up with London Wasps director of rugby Dai Young – a former Lions prop himself – has reinvented his career and massively enhanced his England chances.
“Being at Wasps has really helped me. I had only ever known Worcester before then,” said Mullan.
“But I have improved with my consistency and it has all started to come together. Dai (Young) has been a huge help in that sense.
“People may think they know what is going on in the front row, but you are no expert unless you have played there.
“Dai has. He is a great mind to have around, someone to learn from and try and improve.
“He’s not just the scrum coach but the head coach, so the scrum inevitably comes up a lot. It is something he prides himself on.
“It has been great to be involved for the whole of the Six Nations; I have never had a full tournament to get involved with the squad.”
Marler and Corbisierio may be the men in possession of the England loosehead jersey at present but Mullan insists he’s gunning for the shirt.
“Joe is the man in possession at the moment and rightly so,” he added. “But I’m not content with being second best and I will keep working hard to earn that jersey.
“There is such competition at loosehead, but that’s a good thing really. All I want is a chance to shine, a couple of stand-out moments in a game to show the guys what I can offer.”
Matt Mullan, Chris Ashton and Henry Thomas are representing the England team on behalf of Marriott Hotels, official partner of England Rugby. See how Marriott is reinventing travel at TravelBrilliantly.co.uk