Rugby

England's new star living up to the hype

2016-06-23 22:18
Maro Itoje
Maro Itoje (Getty)

Cape Town - English rugby's new golden boy Maro Itoje is taking his amazing season in his long stride after passing his first southern hemisphere test.

Just 21, lock Itoje has featured in hugely successful campaigns at club and international level, adding a swag of individual awards to his team honours.

He was part of Saracens domestic and European Champions Cup final winning teams, taking out man of the match in the latter.

The athletically gifted forward and Test rookie also picked up a player-of-the-game award in some of his Six Nations matches, as England completed a Grand Slam before clinching their three-Test series against Australia in two games.

"I've played in a number of fairly big games and I've had that experience of big pressure games, I'm now much more relaxed in the build-up to games," Itoje said.

"I have more clarity of thought. I think that eases tensions going into these big occasions."

Itoje wasn't letting on when he last started in a losing team, but it's believed he has been on the winning side in his last 25 combined club and Test starts.

He is confident he can shut out all the potentially head-turning hype his swift rise has generated.

"I'm aware of it, but I'm fortunate to be a part of two very talented teams," the European Player of The Year said.

"That kind of stuff never really bothers or distracts me.

"I think what I find important is what the people I care about say, my teammates, what the coaches, what my family say, so that's what I hold myself accountable to."

The Tests against Australia the past two weekends were his first in the Southern Hemisphere and against one of the big three nations in that part of the rugby world.

He hasn't noticed a great deal of difference between what he's used to in the Northern Hemisphere and what the Wallabies have thrown at England.

"Australia are a very good team, they probably play with the ball a little bit more, I think that's probably a trait of Super Rugby," he added.

Read more on:    england  |  eddie jones  |  rugby
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee remains defiant, saying he won't resign despite a shambolic two years at the helm. Your thoughts?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.