The Lions Have Been Pranking Maro Itoje On A Daily Basis

It’s scary to think that Maro Itoje is still only 22 years of age.

The England and Lions lock has done more in the last couple of seasons that most professional rugby players wouldn’t manage in several lifetimes.

He’s lifted the English Premiership twice, the European cup twice, the Six Nations twice, as well as being named World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year and European Player of the Year among others.

The scary thing is he’s only going to get better. Itoje makes his Lions debut tomorrow, but as the youngest member of the squad tasked with minding BIL the Lion, he’s been given a bit of a hard time. Trying to keep an eye on BIL hasn’t been easy.

“It has been interesting and a bit challenging at times,” he admitted.
“That’s probably part of the parcel of it. It has its good moments, as any relationship does. It has its highs, it has its lows. It goes missing an awful lot and I am thinking of ways to keep it close.”

Keith Earls was the man tasked with taking care of him back in 2009 and suffered the same problem, as did Stuart Hogg back in 2013. Hogg however isn’t sympathetic with Itoje, in fact he’s been the main person causing him problems!

“One would think he would be a little bit sympathetic, but he is the absolute opposite,” Itoje said.
“We went to the gym today and I put it down. He first of all put it on top of something. I pretended I didn’t see it to hopefully just make sure he left it there. Then he moved it again, then again. I finally got it back.”
“Then he tried once more and I was like, ‘Nah, you’re not moving it this time.’

Despite all his accolades and experience of top level rugby already, it’s easy to forget that at 22, Itoje is still relatively green. He’s not taking this tour for granted and will use it as a tool to learn as much as possible. He’s even been brushing up on his Northern Ireland politics thanks to Iain Henderson!

“Not many people get this opportunity. I’m getting to spend time and train with players I haven’t played with before. It’s great to mix with these well established internationals.” said Itoje
“My room-mate at the moment is Iain Henderson. He’s been giving me a little debrief on Northern Irish politics, which was very interesting for me. That’s not exactly my area of expertise.
“He was explaining to me the complex nature of what’s going on over there. He didn’t give me the whole thing otherwise we’d have been there for quite a while.
“I have had Sean O’Brien as well. He’s been a bit of a character. It’s been nice getting to know him. My first room-mate was Rhys Webb. He sleeps like an absolute champion. Either I’m really boring or he sleeps a lot!”

Itoje makes his Lions debut tomorrow and there’s absolutely no doubt he’ll be fired up and ready to wreak havoc.

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Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor at RugbyLAD. Any queries big or small you can reach him at [email protected]

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