Maro Itoje

Maro Itoje

TELL US about your rugby background?
I started at St George’s school in Harpenden where I was scouted by the Saracens Academy. I’m now at Harrow on a rugby scholarship.

When did you first get involved with England?
I was capped at England U17 level and have now progressed to the U18s. I’ve just got back from playing in South Africa.

How seriously do you take conditioning?
It’s so important. I’m 6ft 5in and 17st 4lb and have put on seven kilos in the past year. I’m looking to reach 118 kilos (18st 8lb) at pro level.

What’s your favourite position?
I’m comfortable playing at lock and blindside but can also play at No 8. Personally, I favour No 6.

How would you describe your playing style?
I’m aggressive around the pitch and pride myself on my tackling and work-rate. My set-piece work is improving.

Who is your mentor?
At Saracens, it’s Steve Borthwick. He’s taken the time out to pass on his experience in training.

What is the next step for you in your career?
To secure a Saracens contract and get some first-team experience. I also want to stay within the England set-up.

What interests do you have outside rugby?
I represented England in the shot-put at England U17 level and I love shooting hoops. I also sing in a house choir.

RW Verdict: Similar in playing style to  Courtney Lawes,  Maro could soon be pushing for a place in Saracens’ first XV.

Samson Lee

Samson Lee (Huw Evans)

When did you start playing rugby?
I started at Felinfoel RFC at 11 and played at Coedcae school before going to Coleg Sir Gâr. I’ve been with the Scarlets since I was 15.

Have you always been a tighthead prop?
With my physique, there wasn’t much choice! I’m 5ft 11in and 18st 2lb. I need to work on my mobility.

What skills do you need in your position?
You need a low centre of gravity. It’s all about power and strength, which luckily comes naturally. I can bench-press 170kg.

Who do you look up to in the game?
Adam Jones. I’ve not had the chance to play against him yet, but I’m sure I’ll pick his brains when I do.

How was the IRB Junior World Championship?
Fantastic, especially beating New Zealand. I learnt so much about scrummaging and managing your own time.

What are your aims for this season?
I’ve just signed a five-year deal with the Scarlets so I’m hoping to push for some more game time.

What are your interests?
I love the outdoors and like hunting with Ken Owens and Phil John.

RW Verdict: Samson is the natural replacement for Rhys Thomas and a potential heir to Adam Jones’s Wales No 3 shirt.

This article appeared in the October 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine.

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