England fans may first have come across Australian-born Alec Hepburn when he was selected for the England Saxons tour of South Africa in 2016 but by January 2018, the prop had earned his spurs and received a maiden call-up to the senior squad ahead of the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations.
On that Saxons tour in June 2016, Hepburn started both games against South Africa A, scoring a try in the first meet from a move involving Dan Robson and Alex Lewington and helping to create another for Semesa Rokoduguni en route to a 32-24 victory.
At 6’1 and 108kg, Hepburn has all the physical attributes associated with the modern day loose head prop, and carries out the role with added dynamism. He was an integral part of Exeter's Aviva Premiership title win in the 2016/17 season, while also impressing on for Chiefs on the European circuit.
Hepburn played alongside current club team-mates Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Hill, Jack Nowell and Henry Slade at U20 level.
Initially recruited by Exeter Chiefs for the 2014/15 season, Hepburn had played for Australian club Perth Spirit after helping England U20 to complete the 2013 Six Nations and IRB Junior World Championship double. He appeared in 15 matches for that age group side, including all ten in two successive World Championships.
His debut at that level was in the 59-3 win over Scotland at Firhill, Glasgow in February 2012 and his first start came in the 20-9 win over Ireland at Adams Park when England lifted the Six Nations title for the third time in five years.
He had played three times for England U18, first coming off the bench against Ireland in December 2010 and made his initial start in the 26-21 defeat by Scotland at Headingley Carnegie the following March.
Alec, who qualifies for England through his father, was originally from Perth and took up the game when 16 while at Gillotts School in Henley-on-Thames, where he went on to take a course in PE, Film Studies and Chemistry at the college there.
His previous schooling had been at Ravensthorpe District High in Western Australia. Alec, a former vice-captain at Henley College, played for Oxfordshire U17 and was with Henley Hawks in 2008/09, where he was voted as the best newcomer before joining Wasps Academy.
He was also with London Welsh for a year and said: “Playing in the Championship for them was enjoyable. It helped me massively.
"The Championship is a proven place, especially for young front tow forwards and it’s more than necessary to do your time there. You come up against good, experienced props and you learn a few lessons.”
Dol Heavey, his mother, also enjoyed her own sporting niche by becoming a Western Australian tennis champion.
5 points – 1T
2018 It(R), W(R)
Last updated: 12 February 2018