'This isn't something that is ridiculous': All Access Special Ep1 with Maro Itoje
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. In episode one of the three-part series, the pair look back down memory lane and go over photos from the 26-year-old’s youth, tracking his evolution from growing up in a household that had didn’t necessarily follow rugby to becoming one of the game’s current icons.
Itoje, who linked up with the 2021 Lions earlier this week in Jersey, explained that his time at Harrow School was a turning point, the juncture where he realised he could make a career out of rugby. He said: “At that point, I started seeing people who were a year or two above me start to get contracts, people that you may have played with or trained with start to get contracts. Then it starts to get very real and starts to feel that this isn’t something that is ridiculous, this isn’t something that is out of touch.”
Itoje didn’t just reflect on his rugby career, though. He also talked about his family and the support they have given him throughout his career to date. After such a unique year, Itoje also said that the pandemic and the lockdown was a period where he was able to look back over his career so far and assess how far he has come since making his Saracens debut in 2013, his England debut in 2016 and his Lions debut in 2017.
“For me, it was a massive period of reflection,” said the 51-cap international, a tally consisting of 48 England appearances and three more Tests with the Lions. “That first lockdown allowed me the time and space to actually look back and take stock of where I actually am.
“It was probably the first time in my career I actually did that because when I was a kid coming up through the academy I would have absolutely loved to be in the position that I am now, so it definitely made me grateful for it.”
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