Date of birth: 16 March, 1995. Country: Wales

 

When were you bitten by the rugby bug?
I started in the U8s at Bonymaen with my neighbour Oliver Treviso. He still plays for them now. I was hooked straightaway and it all became much more interesting when it went into contact rugby!

Have you played different positions?
I was a second-row or back-row from the start and as I got older my body shape changed and it was clear I was a second-row.

When did you join Ospreys?
I played two games for their U18s, then got offered a development contract. I was offered the chance to play for Wales U18 a few weeks later.

Who has mentored you?
Keith Brooks from Bonymaen was my coach from U13s to U16s and was brilliant. He always believed in me.

What were your aims this season?
I was thinking about playing for Wales U20 again and as much as I could for Bridgend in the Principality Premiership. I hoped for some LV= Cup games for the Ospreys but I have also played some Pro12.

How have you found the Pro12?
It has been brilliant. The big difference is the physicality. The Wales U20 games are really fast and the Pro12 has bigger collisions and tackles and scrummaging.

Are you studying?
I did the first year of a sports science degree at Swansea and I have taken a gap year, but I hope to go back part-time.

Are you enjoying being captain of Wales U20?
It’s fantastic. I couldn’t believe it when they asked me. Beating England in the first game,
for the first time at U20 level, was a great experience, especially at home.

 

RW verdict: Thornton has gone from strength to strength this season. The 6ft 7in, 18st lock made five starts in last summer’s Junior World Championship and has a growing reputation at the Ospreys.