This rising star is juggling his A Levels with Premiership and U20 rugby

Dragons and Wales U20 centre Aneurin Owen

Date of birth 19 Oct 2000 Born Newport Region Dragons Country Wales Position Inside-centre

What age did you first play rugby?

Seven. My dad took me to my local club, Newport High School Old Boys. It took me a couple of years to fall in love with it. I’ve come through the age groups, HSOB and up to youth, and then the Dragons Academy kicked in.

What positions have you played?

I was a ten until the age of 16. As I turned 17, the Dragons converted me to a 12, but I like to think I can play both.

Those years playing ten have been really useful. Decision-making, time on the ball, my kicking – all that developed as a ten. I can use those skills a space out; I can still play to the gain-line, beat defenders and put people in space.

Which players did you admire growing up?

Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell. They’re the biggest two people I looked up to. But also people like Jonny Wilkinson and Dan Carter.

Who’s been the biggest influence on your career?

My dad (Rob). He played rugby in the Army and had a real passion for it. He’s the most honest with me. After a game people say ‘well done’ but Dad will be the critical one. That pushes me to improve. He’s always giving me stuff to work on.

Who have you been playing for this season?

For Ebbw Vale in the Principality Premiership and for Wales in the U20 Six Nations.

How does the U20 Six Nations compare to life in the Principality Premiership?

The Premiership is about physicality, and you’ve got to be mentally up there
every week. The U20s is a lot faster and tests you in a different way. It has more of a professional feel because of the travelling and playing abroad.

We hear that your nickname is ‘NHS’…

Yeah, a couple of the boys at Ebbw Vale made the simple connection to Aneurin Bevan (founder of the NHS). Everybody there calls me that now.

Are you still studying?

I’m doing A Levels this summer in Maths, PE and History. That’s at Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Pontypool. I hope to go to Cardiff Met University to do sports performance analysis, starting in September. At uni I’d still be at the Dragons and playing for Ebbw Vale as well.

What are your goals for 2019?

To get my grades and get to uni. And with my rugby, to play for the U20s and to keep improving my game.

RW VERDICT: At 5ft 11in and around 13-and-a-half stone, Owen hopes to bulk up to prepare for the rigours of elite rugby. He has the rounded skill-set to evoke envy in rivals and those in the know tip him for senior Welsh honours in the near future.

This article originally appeared in the April 2019 edition of Rugby World magazine.

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