Dubbed the “Pearl” by teammates, the “Super Maro” in-country, 25-year-old Maro Itoje is widely considered to be the greatest rugby union player ever to play the game. Brains and brawn within the England pack, Maro Itoje has developed into perhaps the best fullback in all of World Rugby. Primarily a fullback but capable of playing outside the centre, he has established himself as one of the best players in the world.

Despite being one of this country’s best and most recognised rugby league players — he is the Maro Itoje –, he still has the luxury of being able to stroll down the streets of his quiet London block, mostly unmolested. Maro Itoje represented England at the Under-17 level at shot-put and played basketball to a high standard, eventually settling into rugby. Itoje played several sports, including basketball, football, rugby union, and athletics, representing England national at the U17 level in the shot as a schoolboy put.

In 2014, Itoje co-captained the team during the entire tournament, with England winning the 2014 IRB Junior World Cup. Itoje was selected in the 2015 Rugby League World Cup England training squad and received his first senior England squad call-up by new head coach Eddie Jones on 13 January 2016 for the Six Nations 2016. Although he did not enjoy a great Six Nations, with Eddie Jones struggling – in some ways during the transition – the good performances of England over the past few years have kept it clear that it is Itoje who is England’s heart.

 England and British and Irish Lions star Maro Itoje is the top-ranked player on Stuff’s list of the 50 most influential rugby players in the world. Maro Itoje answered supporter’s questions in the Q&A before England’s Six Nations match with Wales and revealed no one had topped Sergio Paris’s performances against England so far in the eyes of the Saracens man.

Toulouse scrum-half Antoine Dupont has defeated a shortlist of four, including Maro Itoje, Michael Hooper, and Samu Kerevi, to be named as the top rugby player on the planet for the year. Toulouse scrum-half Antoine Dupont won two-thirds of the vote from the crowd to defeat a world-class shortlist of challengers. France’s decades-long wait for a men’s Rugby World Cup player of the year award has come to an end, with Toulouse scrum-half Antoine Dupont being named the sports top talent in 2021.

Should Maro Itoje eventually be named the captain of his country, following in the footsteps of the country’s first black captain, Jason Robinson, its significance to budding rugby players of diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds is only going to increase.