Get to know the cross-coder at the Falcons
Newcastle wing Iwan Stephens
Date of birth 24 March 2002 Born Leeds Position Wing Club Newcastle Falcons Country England
When did you first play rugby?
I started off in league at about 12 or 13. When it was the league off-season, I’d play a little bit of union for my local club Morley. I was in the Leeds Rhinos Academy, then I moved to union at 18.
Did you play any other sports growing up?
Rugby was always the main one, but I played football when I was really young and did athletics. I used to do the 100m relay at school. I like the team aspect of rugby.
Any childhood rugby heroes?
I watched Rob Burrow a lot when I was younger. And Kevin Sinfield. I was fortunate enough for Rob to coach me. He always said to me to do the basics; if you do them right you’ll progress.
How did the move to Newcastle come about?
My dad asked me about switching when Covid happened. Leeds couldn’t keep me on, so he said, “What do you think about union?” I thought I’d give it a shot and Newcastle’s academy manager asked me to come up.
How have you found crossing codes?
The first year was difficult – I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing. It’s a completely different sport. But this season I’ve found my feet.
I was a full-back or winger in league so it’s pretty similar in union.
What are your strengths?
Speed and agility are my top things.
Who is faster – you or Adam Radwan?
Radders – I’ll give him this one!
And what about work-ons?
My passing and my involvements around the ball.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
My dad, Colin. He used to play rugby union and played for Wales a few times. He’s always said get the basics done well, like Rob Burrow said to me about getting the basics rights.
What representative honours do you have?
I played twice for England U16 and Academy in league.
Your goals for this year?
To progress and hopefully get more time in the first team. To just play rugby really.
What do you do outside of rugby?
When I finished school I started an apprenticeship as a joiner and I’ve just got qualified.
If I have a bit of downtime I like chilling, watching TV, playing Xbox sometimes.
RW Verdict: Having impressed with a couple of early-season tries, Stephens’s progress was disrupted by injury. When fit, the wing, who qualifies for England and Wales, will looking to use his pace to good effect.
This article originally appeared in the March 2022 edition of Rugby World.
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