It’s a long way back – and up – since Justin Clegg’s tentative steps in rugby when first playing at the age of eight at Bromsgrove School. Now he stands tall at 6ft 8in, grateful to his parents Karen and Simon, in his own words, “for letting me choose my own path in sport, opening me up to others such as cricket, hockey and football and also for giving me the fantastic opportunity to study at Bromsgrove. My brother, Adam, who became a member of the Warwickshire Cricket Academy, spent hours in the garden with me, practising skills etc.”
Birmingham born and a second-year geography student at Durham University, he’s a sizeable distance from Worcester Warriors, where he is an academy member. He made his club debut in a U18 match against Northampton Saints in 2013 and his eight caps at England U20 level include five in the World Championship this June. His maiden try was against Wales in a pool match.
He said: “Shaun Ruwers and Tony Windo at Bromsgrove recognised my ability and not only encouraged my love of the game but developed my skills in the loose. Alex Keay, Gareth Nesbit and Mauritz Botha at university have constantly challenged me to become a better player and helped me with mental aspects of rugby. The Worcester coaches have also been brilliant over the past four years.”
With game time in the new BUCS Super League for Durham, he showed Warriors head coach Carl Hogg that he deserved an opportunity and made his first-team debut off the bench in the 31-25 Anglo-Welsh Cup win over Bristol before playing for almost half an hour against Wasps in the same competition the following week. Looking back, Justin helped Bromsgrove to beat Dulwich College in the NatWest Cup final in 2015.
He continued: “When growing up, I liked the way that locks such as Brodie Retallick not only dominated physically but also contributed in the loose. I admire Eben Etzebeth for his physicality and also Gareth Barry in his Aston Villa football days. I’m a Villa supporter.”
Away from the game, he loves visiting family in Vancouver, where his mother was born, enjoys Good Charlotte, an American pop punk band, together with the film Deadpool and White Collar, a TV show. What is his best non-rugby achievement? Answer: Getting into Durham University.
5 points- 1T
2017: F, W, I(R), World Championship – Sam(R), W, A(R), SA, NZ(R)
Last updated: 19 June 2017