An exclusive Q&A with Wasps centre, Jacob Umaga


Hotshot: Wasps centre Jacob Umaga

Date of birth 8 July 1998 Born Halifax, W Yorkshire Club Wasps Country England Position Centre

When did you first play?

I was three or four and playing for the U6s at Old Brodleians in Halifax. I played a lot of other sports – rugby league, basketball, football, cricket – but rugby was always the best fit.

What positions have you played?

Ten for a long time, but recently I’ve moved to centre and played a little at full-back.

Do you feel pressure because of what your dad, Mike, and uncle, Tana, have achieved?

Not really, I’m my own person, my own player. I’m a different player to my dad or my uncle; I’m doing my own thing. If I can get anywhere near the recognition they got that would be good.

What are your strengths?

Probably my decision-making with ball in hand and having time on the ball. I like being a playmaker. I’m definitely still working on getting bigger collisions in contact.

Who’s been the biggest influence on your career?

My parents. My mum played a bit as well. She runs a good dummy switch – I got that off her. If I ask my mum how I did, I’ll get a comforting response and my dad will give me the truth. He’ll pick me up on things but I need that. And he says as long as I’ve got a smile on my face it will be alright.

You’ve represented England at age-grade level. Have you considered playing for New Zealand or Samoa?

I’ve always followed New Zealand and Samoa closely, and Samoa a bit more recently as they’ve been struggling. I’ve always thought it would be nice for my dad to see me put on the blue shirt at some point. International rugby is international rugby at the end of the day – any honours would be good.

What do you do away from rugby?

I follow basketball, the NBA, and through Wasps I’m involved with Playing Advantage, which is a disability and special needs club. I’m an ambassador and help out on weekends.

RW Verdict: He admired Dan Carter and Carlos Spencer growing up, has huge family pedigree and will have learnt a lot watching from the sidelines at his dad’s clubs. Next he faces a big decision over who to represent at Test level.

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 edition of Rugby World magazine.