Maro Itoje: From Harpenden to England captain in just 10 years?
- Credit: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle/Aviva
A former Harpenden schoolboy could be named as England captain when new head coach Eddie Jones names his side next Wednesday.
Maro Itoje, 21, who went to St George’s school from the age of 11 to 16, has been tipped as the shock name in line to replace Chris Robshaw as skipper.
The Saracens man, who has just been named as the Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month for December, has yet to be included in a full England squad but, according to some, is rivalling Joe Launchbury for the armband.
One such man is Austin Healey, who won over 50 caps for England and toured twice with the British and Irish Lions.
He says it is a certainty that Itoje will star for England but it could be as leader.
Healey said: “He has shown a maturity on the field way beyond his years all season.
“But it is not just his temperament that makes him stand out as a definite England second row of the future - he possesses great physical attributes and more importantly amazing technique.
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“When carrying his hands and timing are excellent, when tackling he is strong and rarely misses, but for me it is at the breakdown where he is best.
“He has good special awareness in the rucks and often finds a way to bounce to his feet and stay deep in the ruck, therefore using his feet to disrupt possession.”
Healey added: “He will play for England, the big question is will he be Eddie Jones’ captain?”
Itoje, who also played for Harpenden and Old Albanian, has had previous experience of leading a national team.
In 2014 he captained the England U20 side that won the IRB Junior World Championship in New Zealand.