Apr 14, 2015
Itoje Signs - Maro's story so far
With the news that Maro Itoje has signed a multi-year deal to keep him at Saracens we take a look back at some of his biggest moments in Itoje's fledgling career.
Itoje impresses on Premiership debut
Making your Premiership bow at the home of Leicester Tigers may be daunting for most youngsters, but it was certainly a league debut to remember for Itoje.
Not only was it the fact he started as a fresh faced 19-year old, but that he was part of a young team that pushed the Tigers very close at Welford Road in a gallant 31-27 defeat.
Itoje produced a performance that exuded confidence, portraying himself as seasoned Premiership campaigner despite it being his Premiership debut. In the game Itoje made the fourth most carries, with five, and had an excellent average gain per carry of 5.4 metres.
One carry was a brilliant try assist after pouncing on Tigers fumble he beat 2 defenders and gave a superb offload to put wing Jack Wilson over for a try. He made 14 tackles along the way too. Itoje didn’t shy away from any work and took his opportunity to make an impact and provided with observed with a taste of things to come.
Junior World Championship glory
Not many players can boast that they have led their country to World Championship glory at any age group, but Itoje did exactly that when England U20s narrowly beat South Africa in 21-20.
Itoje was a pillar strength for England U20s in their Six Nations campaign in the lead up to the tournament in New Zealand and he continued his fine form throughout the World Championship campaign.
On winning the trophy, Itoje: “It doesn’t feel real at the moment. It feels pretty special.
“It’s something I used to dream f when I heard about the Under-20 Championship and I am so happy to be able to lift the trophy. This has been a fantastic experience for us," the then 19-year-old added.
“It’s an amazing feeling; we have been working so hard. It’s just joy, our boys worked so hard and we got what we deserved. We believed that if we stayed to our principles and stayed to the plan we’d do well and we did, we won the World Cup.”
Appointed LV=Cup skipper for 2014/15 season
Captaining a side that includes established players who have played in Premiership finals and World Cup’s is no mean feat for a 19-year old, but that’s exactly what Maro Itoje did when he led out Saracens against Harlequins in November 2014.
Itoje had already assumed the ‘armband’ for Saracens A-League campaign earlier that season, but his appointment to skipper Saracens in the Anglo-Welsh campaign was another vindication of Itoje’s burgeoning reputation as one of the game’s exciting leaders.
Maro’s Saxons bow
Itoje produced an extremely impressive performance for England Saxons in their 18-9 win against the Irish Wolfhounds in January.
The 2014 Junior World Championship winning skipper was in fine form during his 65 minutes on the field. He was a constant menace for the Wolfhounds attack, with a series of suffocating tackles and clever work at the breakdown.
“It was a very good experience, one that I thoroughly enjoyed,” said Itoje of his Saxons bow. “I was little bit nervous going into it. I was going into unknown environment and I didn’t really know too many people but it was a great week and I thought I went ok in the game. All in all, it was a week I really enjoyed."
Itoje lifts A-League and LV=Cup title’s
13 games as captain, and 13 wins. A 100% record like that can ultimately lead to one thing, silverware. In a highly successful A-League campaign, Itoje spearheaded the Saracens Storm campaign, with the Storm winning the Premiership A-League campaign against Worcester Cavaliers at Sixways Stadium – the club’s first ever A-League win. Itoje scored in the final and lifted the trophy to wild celebrations on a rainy February evening in Worcester.
Fast forward to March. After a nervy and tense semi-final win against rivals Northampton at Allianz Park, Itoje led out his Saracens side in the LV=Cup final against Exeter Chiefs.
In an equally nail-biting finale, Ben Spencer’s last second penalty booted Saracens to glory. Itoje held the Anglo-Welsh trophy aloft to wild celebrations at Franklin’s Gardens.