Hotshot: Saracens lock Nick Isiekwe
Get to know Nick Isiekwe – the teenage second-row who Eddie Jones has picked in his England squad to tour Argentina
Date of birth 20 April 1998 Country England
When did you start playing rugby?
When I was nine. One Saturday evening I was lazing around and my mum wanted me to do something, so the next day I went down to the local rugby club, Old Verulamians. I really enjoyed it. I liked the atmosphere – and the free food afterwards!
Have you always been a lock?
Originally I was a crash-ball centre, at 13 I changed to prop, then I grew a bit more and went to second-row.
Do you enjoy playing second-row?
I love it. You can physically impose yourself on a game and there’s the lineout, which is technical. There are a lot of physical demands but I enjoy the challenge and it suits me.
When did you link up with Saracens?
At 13. I was playing for Old Albanians and got invited to an U16s trial. I’ve been there ever since.
Do you get to work with Maro Itoje and George Kruis?
I always ask them questions and pick their brains. They’re the high-flyers and they have the knowledge. They’re really nice guys as well.
When did you first get England honours?
U16s, then U18s and now U20s. The way they develop you from that age is key. It prepares you to be a fully-fledged professional.
You were only 18 during the Six Nations. How did you fit in with the U20s?
The older boys, the guys who have been in the system for two years, have made it really easy for the younger guys to settle. Everyone has come together.
What do you do off the field?
I’m studying for an A level in philosophy. I did two last year and I have an aspiration to go to uni part-time.
Who have been your biggest influences?
My parents, for the way they encouraged me to get out and try things. And all the coaches I’ve had have guided me and helped me.
RW Verdict: Isiekwe started four of the five games in England’s U20 Grand Slam-winning campaign. He looks to be following the lead of Itoje and Kruis – and was named in the England squad for the tour of Argentina in June on his 19th birthday.
This article first appeared in the May 2017 issue of Rugby World. For the latest subscription offers, click here.