A Saracens Academy product, Maro Itoje was a new member of the England squad for the 2016 Six Nations, and has since gone on to establish himself as a regular in the senior side.
He also made three Test appearances for the British & Irish Lions against New Zealand in 2017, making a formidable impression on his first start in the second Test in Wellington.
Maro had the distinction of scoring a try for the tourists in his third match against the Maori All Blacks.
Born to Nigerian parents, he was schooled at St George’s, Harpenden, the same as England backs Owen Farrell and George Ford, before heading to sixth form at Harrow on a scholarship.
Maro has also played basketball, represented England U17 in the shot put and twice been in Hertfordshire’s team for the national schools’ athletics championships. His cousin, Beno Obano, plays in the front row for Bath Rugby.
During his climb to the highest level in rugby, he represented England U17, captained both Harpenden RFC and St George’s VA School in his age group and played for Hertfordshire U14, U15 and U16.
Maro appeared for London & SE U16 and played for England U18 in the 54-5 win over London Academies on his own school ground before starting four competitive matches for the side.
His debut came against Scotland at Hawick in March 2012 and he partnered Charlie Ewels in all three triumphant games as England became the European champions in Spain.
Remarkably, he went on to score a try in every U20 Six Nations game in 2014, was the Man of the Match in the 48-15 win over Scotland at Galashiels and England’s Man of the Tournament.
Maro also led the side in the final two games that produced a 67-7 win over Wales at Kingston Park, Newcastle and a 52-5 victory over Italy at Calvisano.
Greater deeds followed when he captained the team in the 21-20 victory over South Africa in the IRB Junior World Championship final at Eden Park, Auckland in June 2014.
Camden-born, he played in ten matches for England U20 that year, having taken up the game at St George’s when he was 11 - he made his England Saxons debut against Ireland Wolfhounds in January 2015.
He started the 2014/15 campaign on the fringe of the Saracens side but enjoyed significant success and ended it as a Premiership title winner, as he also did in 2015/16.
Maro was named European Player of the Year in 2016 after picking up the man of the match in his club’s European Champions Cup final triumph over Racing 92.
A Premiership Player of the Month had already come his way, in December 2015, and he was a travelling reserve for England in their opening match of the 2016 Six Nations against Scotland
He made a highly-promising debut against Italy in the next game and starting against Ireland - part of a remarkable run which saw him on the winning side in 26 out of 27 games for club and country during the 2015/16 season.
He started all three Tests in the series whitewash of Australia in June 2016.
Maro then was voted man of the match with an accomplished all-round performance in the Triple Crown victory over Wales at Twickenham before sharing in the 2017 Grand Slam win over France.
In the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations, Maro started all five of England’s games as the defending champions finished the Championship in fifth position.
2016 It(R), I, W, F, A(1,2,3) 2017 F, W, It, S, I, A(R), Sam 2018 It, W, S, F, I
Lions: 2017 NZ(1R,2,3)
Last updated: 2 April 2018