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'That is a trait that not a lot of people have': All Access Special Ep2 with Maro Itoje

By Josh Raisey

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In the latest RugbyPass All Access Special, Jim Hamilton is joined by Vitality ambassador Maro Itoje, his former Saracens teammate and British and Irish Lions tourist. Episode two of the three-part series takes a look back at Itoje’s career so far with Saracens, England and the Lions, discussing the players and coaches that have had the biggest impact on the 26-year-old’s stellar career.


One person in particular singled out by the Englishman was long-serving Saracens boss Mark McCall. Since making his Saracens debut in 2013, Itoje has solely worked under the former Ireland international, the pair winning multiple Gallagher Premierships, Heineken Champions Cups and even the Greene King IPA Championship last weekend with their two-legged final win over Ealing.

“He [McCall] is one of the most selfless men that I have ever met,” said Itoje about his Saracens mentor. “He has achieved such success and he wants no praise. All he wants is success for his team and success for the players and the coaches and the fans as well. That is a trait that not a lot of people have.

“But in terms of Saracens, they treat their people unbelievably well and the people care deeply about the club from the top to the bottom. It’s the culture, it’s the people that make that place special.”

Having featured in all three matches in the drawn series with the All Blacks in 2017, starting the second and third Tests, Itoje is now poised to go on his second Lions tour when Warren Gatland and his squad fly to South Africa on Sunday. The lock was aged 22 for that trip to New Zealand, the youngest Lion in the squad, and he was given the task of looking after BIL, the team’s mascot. Given that experience and what it meant he now had some words of wisdom to impart to this year’s youngest player, Louis Rees-Zammit. “Keep hold of that Lion.”


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