Date of birth 28 June 1997. Country England
Your dad Gary was a NZ rugby league star. Did you play league?
No. Dad actually pushed me towards union and I’ve never played a game of league.
Where did you start? I joined Old Brodleians, near Halifax, when I was four or five. When I was about ten we moved to Scotland because Dad got a job with Glasgow Warriors and I joined GHA and stayed until I was 16.
Did you always play No 8?
Yes. I fancied myself as a centre but that never came to be!
Who has mentored you?
I went to Merchiston Castle school for two years and the coaches there, Rob Moffat and Roddy Deans, really encouraged me. My dad is always giving me little bits of feedback. Now I go through all my games with Toby Faletau and we do lots of skills together, with Dave Denton too.
You played for Scotland age groups before England…
I qualified for Scotland on residency so played for their U16s and I’m grateful to them because they pushed me. But I always wanted to wear the rose and I played for England U18 and then for England U20 last season.
How did you end up at Bath?
I played a school match against Bryanston and their coach got in touch with Danny Grewcock from the Bath Academy. I moved there when I was 17.
Are you getting more game time than you expected?
100%! I have to thank Toby (Faletau) for giving me the opportunity by getting injured! It’s tough to adapt to but it’s fun playing against internationals I never thought I would play.
What is your aim now?
To compete for the back-row jerseys at Bath. I’ve had a taste of it and I don’t want to give it up. And then to focus on the World Cup with England U20.
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RW Verdict: Mercer doesn’t turn 20 until June but has made a big impact in Bath’s back row this season. He enjoys coaching younger players in his spare time and is set to be a leading light for England U20 in 2017.
First published in the February 2017 edition of Rugby World magazine.