Find out more about the teen who has been impressing in regional and U20 rugby this season
Ospreys centre Joe Hawkins
Date of birth 11 June 2002 Born Swansea Position Centre Region Ospreys Country Wales
How did you get involved in rugby?
I started when I was nine years old at my local club, Pontardawe. All my family, on both sides, are involved in rugby.
Did you play any other sports?
Football. That stopped when I was around 16, as rugby got more serious. In summers, I’d play cricket and rugby league.
Who are your rugby heroes?
Dan Carter was always my childhood hero. He was class in the 2015 World Cup final.
What positions have you played?
I’ve always been in the backs. I played fly-half for Pontardawe and when I went in with the Ospreys I moved to centre.
I can still play outside-half now as well as centre, where I prefer 12.
Who has had the biggest influence on you?
My father has always been there to make sure I’m doing the right things on and off the field, and that I’m enjoying what I’m doing.
What are your strengths?
My distribution and decision-making with the ball. Also, my footwork when I carry the ball.
As I’ve been up with the seniors for the last couple of years, I’ve been working on the defence side of the game. In senior rugby, everyone is big and strong, so it’s trying to get that tackle technique right.
When did you link up with Ospreys?
Since U16s. After that season I went into the junior academy, non-contracted, then after one year I went into the senior academy and got contracted.
How are you finding senior rugby?
When I went up with the seniors a new coach (Toby Booth) had come in, so it wasn’t as if I was coming into a team who knew the style of play down to a tee and I was trying to catch up. I was learning from the start like everyone else and that made the transition easier.
What are your goals in 2022?
To establish myself at the Ospreys. Long term, I think everyone who plays in Wales wants to play for Wales but I’m focused on the Ospreys right now.
RW Verdict: Hawkins, who has represented Wales at U18 and U20 level, acknowledges Owen Watkin and Stephen Myler for the advice and tips they’ve given him. Having such experienced mentors at the Ospreys can only help his career.
This article originally appeared in the March 2022 edition of Rugby World.
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