As mentors go Olly Adkins has a pretty good one to call on.
The performances of the England U20s prop have been a particular highlight of their Six Nations campaign to date and he is lucky enough to have World Cup winner Trevor Woodman to lean on for advice.
It was Woodman who helped the young Gloucester forward make the transition from backrow to front row and Adkins is aware of how lucky he is to call on the services of the former England international.
“He gives me endless advice, gives me time to analyse what I want. He probably gets annoyed at the amount of questions I ask, but he’s been brilliant,” said Adkins."It’s a big fight in that front row."
And the best piece of advice so far has been simple: “It’s a big fight in that front row.”
Woodman joined Gloucester Rugby as forwards coach in March 2014, and has subsequently focused his efforts on developing the club’s forward talent in the academy – including the likes of Adkins.
Adkins was born in Gloucester and grew up in nearby Cirencester – first joining a club, Cirencester RFC, as an 11-year-old – and was part of the most successful rugby team in Cirencester Kingshill School’s history.
He fell in love with rugby because of “the physicality” and credits Woodman for helping guide him through the early stages of his academy career, as well as the positional move.
“He said we both had to buy into the switch but he felt I had a future in that position and from then on it seemed possible.”
Adkins made his England U18s debut in March 2018, calling it an "unbelievable experience" and less than 12 months later his U20 debut against Ireland in the Six Nations.
And having helped England dismantle France’s scrum a week later in round two of the Championship he also managed to bag himself a try.
“I was just happy to dot one down, the scrum was going really well so the try was a bonus,” he added.
The pride Adkins feels in playing for his country is clearly evident admitting singing the national anthem in particular is an emotional moment for him.
“Playing for England was something I always wanted to do,” he said.
“You see the players who come through the pathway and eventually end up playing for the senior team and you’re desperate for that to be you so it’s great to be at the start of the journey.
“I get really emotional when I sing the national anthem, when you’re stood there it hits home that you’re going to be representing your country. There are sometimes a few tears, I think I got caught on Sky shedding a couple, but it helps pump me up for the game. It’s a massive adrenaline rush.”
Adkins made his Premiership debut in October 2018 aged just 18 in the victory over Wasps which was a further indication of his fledgling talent, describing it as an "amazing feeling".
But despite a whirlwind 12 months he is not getting too carried away and is just focused on England’s next game in the U20 Six Nations Championship.
“I’ve only got one year at this level so I want to give it my all,” he said. “I’m just taking it one game at a time, we have a strong Wales side to focus on and I’m not looking past that.”