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Getting to Know: England U20s loosehead Asher Opoku-Fordjour

By Liam Heagney
Sale and England U20s prop Asher Opoku-Fordjour (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Safe to say that out of all the 360 players originally selected across the 12 countries at the 2024 World Rugby U20 Championship, Asher Opoku-Fordjour arrived at the tournament in South Africa with a well-established reputation compared to last year’s maiden voyage.

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A year ago he was coming to the age-grade event in Cape Town off the back of a challenging season in England. Part of the Wasps academy, he became a free agent when the club spectacularly collapsed in October 2022.

Sale offered a lifeline and while that initially involved getting stuck into National League action with Stourbridge and Sedgley Tigers, by the time he arrived back in Manchester from finishing fourth with England in Cape Town, the Sharks recognised they had a hot young talent on their hands.

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Over the winter, Alex Sanderson and co had no hesitation throwing him into a series of Gallagher Premiership and Investec Champions Cup matches as a tighthead and while it is on the other side of the scrum where he continues to be chosen for England age-grade, he has shown himself to be potential prop star in the making.

Having started last Saturday’s opening-round win over Argentina in Athlone, he will provide bench cover this Thursday back at the same stadium looking for an opportunity to hurtle through Fiji in the same stylish way he bounced through this Getting to Know RugbyPass Q&A session:

Fixture
World Rugby U20 Championship
England U20
48 - 11
Full-time
Fiji U20
All Stats and Data

THE BASICS
Born: July 16, 2004;
Joined England age-grade: Scotland, came off the bench first game of the Six Nations U20s last year. I didn’t play U18s;
Club: Sale;
Height: 5ft 9;
Weight: 111kg;
Position: Tighthead (club), loosehead (country);
Boots: Adidas. Style? The one that all the props wear;
Gumshield: I don’t wear one. It gets in the way;
Headgear: No;
School: City of Oxford College.

RATE YOURSELF (out of 100)
Pace: 75;
Passing: 75;
Tackling: 80.

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THE PAST
My favourite England player of all time is… I’d probably say Manu Tuilagi;

Favourite try I have ever scored is… Ireland last year, World Cup;

A rugby memory that makes me smile is… First time I went to training ground at my local club with my brother. Broadstreet RFC;

The moment I realised I could make it is… I haven’t made it yet. My second year at college, that is when I started to realise I could do it if I put a lot of work in;

One piece of advice I would give to my younger self is… Just keep working hard;

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My best subject in school was… I wasn’t any good at school to be honest. PE;

The first player who made me fall in love with rugby is… Probably Manu Tuilagi again;

Growing up, my position was… I was a winger, centre, back row, hooker, prop, back row prop. I was probably 12, 13 when I was a winger;

The coach who has most impacted my game is… Can I say the Wasps one when I was there? Richard Beck.

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THE PRESENT
My best attributes on the field are… I’d to say I scrum well, carry well;

One thing I’m doing to improve my education is… No, not really;

My favourite current England player is… Ben Earl;

My favourite YouTuber is… Yeah. DBG;

My hardest working teammate is… Finn Carnduff;

My most skilful teammate is… Sean Kerr;

My favourite training drill is… Scrum sessions;

My favourite music artist is… I don’t really have one, I don’t have a favourite really. I’ll give it to Drake. Why not.

THE FUTURE
A player who could go all the way is… Finn Carnduff;

If I could play with anyone, I would like to play with… Ardie Savea;

I will be happy with my career if I… Have done everything there is to do. British and Irish Lions, England, loads of caps;

One thing I want to add to my game is… I would say more dominance in my tackles;

If I could play in any other country, I would play in… France probably;

One person I want to meet is… LeBron James;

One trophy I would love to win is… A World Cup, Webb Ellis.

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