“YOU HAVE TO BE COMFORTABLE WITHIN YOUR SKIN”
He has exploded into Test rugby, but young Maro Itoje is just as happy talking politics, religion and emotional wellbeing
NEW ZEALAND is a hard place to come and play rugby. When it rains, it rains endless showers of iced spears. When the people want to welcome you, they do so with fire in their eyes and a
taiaha weapon in their hands. When they play rugby, they do so with a fierce, molten confidence.
In front of all that stands a beaming 22-year-old with a cuddly toy under one arm.
Maro Itoje has enjoyed a rapid rise to the summit of the game. Since he led England U20 to a Junior World Championship title at Eden Park in 2014, he has thundered ever upwards. He could not help but push through at Saracens, forming a powerful second-row partnership with George
Kruis. The pair would soon form the bedrock lock pairing nationally too, after Itoje made his debut away to Italy in the 2016 Six Nations as a substitute for James Haskell.
It would take him 11 more
Tests before he lost a game, on his 12th international outing, in Dublin. He also now has two Champions Cup winner’s medals in his cabinet.
If you have seen Itoje throughout this period you will have seen one