St Paul’s Catholic College pupil David Sisi first picked up a rugby ball as a Year Seven student, and played his first few years in the front row.
He has since played in the second row, and is now settling down in the back row, where he hopes to stay. One of his rugby heroes is Lawrence Dallaglio, and Sisi’s explosive running and ball-carrying is reminiscent of the former England captain. “He was such a powerful runner,” says Sisi, 6ft 2in and 18st 9lb. “And the fact that he played sevens shows what an incredible work-rate he had.”
Currently on London Irish’s AASE scheme, which targets school leavers who have the potential to play elite rugby, Sisi became the club’s youngest-ever debutant when he came off the bench aged 17 in the LV= Cup game against Sale Sharks in November. Although Irish lost 39-14, Sisi was pleased with his performance.
“The pace and physicality of the game was definitely a step up from the A League,” he says, “but I got good feedback from the coaches after the game and was pleased with my stats.”
Giselle Mather, AASE manager at London Irish, says of Sisi: “He’s worked incredibly hard and is very dedicated and motivated. He’s changed his whole lifestyle and is very promising at six or eight.”
Sisi is also in his first season with the England U18 squad, and Academy coach John Fletcher says: “He did well in his senior debut, and is definitely one to watch in future.”
RUGBY WORLD VERDICT:
With natural talent and a fantastic work ethic, Sisi deserves to go far.