The Bears front-rower has caught the eye in the Premiership this season

TAGS:

Hotshot: Bristol and England U20 hooker Will Capon

Date of birth 12 Oct 1999 Born Bristol Club Bristol Bears Country England Position Hooker

Where did you first play rugby?

For Winscombe RFC, aged seven to 16. I also played for Bristol Grammar (School) from 12 through to 18, and got picked up by Bristol Academy at 13. Along the way, I played England U16, U18, U20.

Did you play other sports?

I captained hockey at BGS at various points; until 15 I played rugby, hockey and cricket but then rugby became all-consuming.

What positions have you played?

Centre until age ten, then tighthead. At 17, Peter Walton, the ex-England 18s coach, saw that I might have potential at hooker. Bristol Academy put me in for the 18s league and I’ve played there the past three years.

So you’ve come late to the throwing art?

Yeah, Mark Luffman, a consultant for the RFU, would come on a weekly basis to do throwing coaching with me. He’s awesome. Whenever I need any advice on throwing or front-row specifics, I’ll go to Mark Irish at the club or drop Luffers a text.

What are your strengths?

Ball in hand is my speciality. There are a lot of running hookers coming through; Thacks (Harry Thacker) is a really good example of that. Similarly, I’ve always had a good pass for a front-rower.

And your work-ons?

Set-piece was the big one when I was moving to senior rugby. The laws have been amended but the load that goes through the front row on the engage was completely new to me. So developing my strength and ability to manage that scrum battle.

Who has most influenced your career?

Peter Walton identified me at 14 as a player who had a lot of skills but was probably a bit too selfish on the ball. He challenged my perception of what a forward’s role should be. I guess that’s coming across in the way I like to play, using a variety of skills, not just a hard carry to get go-forward.

What’s your best moment in rugby?

My Premiership debut at Exeter is up there. For Pat (Lam) to back me and Stevie (Luatua) to trust me to go to the tail in the final play, and with the hysteria of beating a side like Exeter on their home ground, that match is something I’ll never forget.

What are your goals this season?

To push my way into more match-day 23s. But really it’s about taking my rugby game by game.

RW VERDICT: Capon is out of the Schalk Brits school of hookers but showed his set-piece poise with that long throw at Exeter to set in motion Bristol’s late winning try. We tip the former England U18 captain to make the grade internationally.

This article originally appeared in the January 2020 edition of Rugby World magazine.

Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.