It is fair to say that, since bursting onto the international stage as part of England’s Grand Slam-winning 2016 Six Nations team, Maro Itoje has transcended the world of rugby union like few others before him.
There are, for example, few players who you would find appearing on the cover of high-society magazine Tatler or featuring in a fashion shoot for Ralph Lauren, not least of all those hard-bitten forwards well-versed in the dark arts and arcane practises of the breakdown as the 26-year-old is.
The British and Irish Lions second row’s profile is further underlined by the fact he, along with the captain of Test series opponents South Africa, Siya Kolisi, is represented by the Roc Nation agency owned by rapper Jay-Z.
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Holder of a politics degree from London’s School of Oriental and African Studies too, Itoje has a wide range of interests off the field. Yet whatever else is going on off the field, his focus always remains on being the best he can on it.
“The way I see all of that kind of stuff, and I guess I’ve been fortunate or unfortunate, whichever way you want to look at it, to have a lot of rhetoric around myself – both good and bad, sometimes – is you just need to focus on what you need to focus on,” Itoje told Sky Sports.
“You need to focus on the craft, focus on the rugby, focus on your goals and your objectives, and if you focus on that then everything really does take care of itself. With athletes, the most important thing is always the craft, and once you look after the rugby everything else outside of it falls into place.
“That’s always been my mantra. Whatever I do off the field, whether it’s studying or commercial stuff, I always keep rugby at the forefront of what I need to do and once I get that right then things will fall into place thereafter.”
Whatever I do off the field, whether it’s studying or commercial stuff, I always keep rugby at the forefront of what I need to do and once I get that right then things will fall into place thereafter.
Read More: Maro Itoje: British and Irish Lions star finds balance between on and off-field 2021-07-30 14:10:42