Hotshot: Wasps fly-half Connor Eastgate
Get to know rising star and Wasps fly-half Connor Eastgate with this exclusive Q&A.
Yes, my dad is in the military and was based there. I was only there for a year and a bit, then we came back to the UK.
When did you begin playing rugby?
I started playing tag at Aylesbury when I was eight and moved up with them until I was 14, then I joined the academy programme at Wasps. I played in their age-group sides and signed two years ago.
What positions have you played?
When I was younger I played a lot at 12. It was only when I was 17 or 18 that the academy coach thought I’d fit at fly-half and I’ve played there since. At the start it was a challenge; as the key decision-maker you’re put under a lot more pressure than in a wider position. I enjoy it now.
Are you happy telling people what to do?
When I was younger I never liked bossing people around, so it was difficult. But as I got older I realised that’s what I needed to do to improve and to make it at the top level. So I’ve grown into it.
FOR THE LATEST SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS, CLICK HERE
What are your strengths?
Definitely my kicking – my kicking game, the length of my kick and stuff like that. I pride myself on being quite a strong defender too. People don’t recognise tens as the biggest defenders but I like to have a good defensive game. I’m working on my attacking game, especially at Wasps with Danny Cipriani and Jimmy Gopperth. I’m working on staying square in attack and being able to put team-mates in better positions.
It must be good to ask those players for advice…
They’re probably the highest-calibre decision-makers in the league so it’s good to pick their brains.
How do you qualify for Scotland?
My mum’s dad was born in Scotland and I was involved in the Exiles programme, then moved up through the U18s and U20s. The U20 World Cup was really good – I loved being in that environment. It was really professional and day in, day out I was with my mates.
What are your goals this season?
I’m really focused on Wasps and want to show I can be the back-up to Cips and Jimmy if needed. So it’s about performing in the A League and Anglo- Welsh Cup when I’m picked, and hopefully being involved in the Premiership.
RW Verdict: Eastgate, who shares a house with fellow academy players, has serious talent. A standout at the U20 World Cup last year, he also qualifies for England and Germany but is likely to remain loyal to Scotland at Test level if selected.
This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Rugby World