Dewi Lake has made the transition from back-row to hooker – find out more about him here

Ospreys and Wales U20 hooker Dewi Lake

Date of birth 16 May 1999 Born Bridgend Region Ospreys Country Wales Position Hooker

When did you first play?

I was five. My father took me down to my first training session and I started at U7s with Valley Ravens. He played in the back row for Treorchy and Pontyclun.

Did you play any other sports growing up?

A lot – gymnastics, swimming, table tennis, football, a bit of golf. In the end it was a toss-up between gymnastics and rugby. I was doing well in gymnastics and I represented Wales in a home nations competition when I was nine or ten. Then, as I was going into comprehensive school, rugby started picking up.

What positions have you played?

Eight months ago I started the transition to hooker. Before that I was a back-row. Last season I had a chat with my coaches at the Ospreys and they said they wanted to keep me as a hooker. It’s been a hard nine months but I’m happy with how far I’ve come.

It wasn’t a shock when they wanted me to move position. The good thing was they wanted me to pursue it with them, so I was on board straightaway.

What has been most difficult?

Throwing. It’s the biggest work-on and the thing I’ve found hardest to get to grips with.

What are your strengths?

My ball-carrying and defensive work. I make big hits and carry hard.

When did you join up with Ospreys?

I first linked up with the U16s. I played for the U18s and now I’m in the academy. I made my senior debut in April (against Zebre). It was an amazing experience.

Who’s been the biggest influence on your career?

My father. Then in the past year Ospreys coaches Duncan Jones and Tom Smith have helped with my transition to hooker. It’s great that they have played at a high level. I wouldn’t be where I am without those three.

Who were your childhood heroes?

There wasn’t a lot of rugby on telly in our house so my old man, David, is a big one. Also Martyn Williams. I watched him in the Wales team that won Grand Slams.

What do you do away from rugby?

I work with the WRU as a rugby development apprentice. So in my spare time I coach children. A lot of time has been put into me, so it’s nice to be able to help out other children and see their development.

RW VERDICT: One of Lake’s mentors, Tom Smith, has since left for Cardiff Blues, but he still has a good support network. He ended the Junior World Cup as Wales’ starting hooker and will be looking for more U20 honours in the coming season.

This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Rugby World. Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.