Apr 20, 2017
Birthday boy Isiekwe left “speechless” by England call
It has been quite a week for Nick Isiekwe, an impressive first Premiership start at the weekend against Northampton followed up by an England call-up today, his 19th birthday.
Born nearby in Hemel Hempsted he began by playing tag rugby before progressing to the full-contact version of the sport where he played a variety of positions.
However, having reached a height of 6”7’ he is now a natural lock-forward. His natural height and reach is coupled with great grace and athleticism, making him an exciting prospect.
Reacting to the call-up the unassuming Isiekwe told of his excitement at the prospect of improving while away with the squad.
He said: “I feel very shocked, it’s been a good week for me. I’m a bit speechless to be honest but I know there’s a lot of hard work ahead in terms of physical and mental preparation.
“It’s a big achievement and hopefully I can learn as much as I can and pick up as much experience as I can and just really knuckle down.
“I’m very happy for the other Sarries lads involved in the squad and it’s an amazing achievement for them as well to be recognised in this way.
“The rugby we’ve played up to this point has been at a different intensity but all the things we’ve learned around the game will be put into fruition when the time comes.
“I’m joined by some good company who I can learn a lot from. They have a lot of wisdom and I can’t wait to learn from them and hopefully it will make me a better rugby player.”
Isiekwe was picked up by Sarries from Old Albanians after a trial when he was 13. While being educated at Haileybury College in Hertfordshire he captained Hertfordshire U16 and Saracens U17.
He joins fellow former Haileybury students Jamie George and Chris Wyles in earning international recognition while playing for Saracens and forwards coach Alex Sanderson has spent a lot of time working with Isiekwe and he has spoken highly of the youngster’s talent.
He said: “He’s worked hard on his basic skills and his knowledge about how he can fit into our structure and our environment here and in recent months, he’s really come on and matured.
“He is still very young but what he has got in an abundance is athletic ability and talent certainly and hopefully what will be evident will be his enthusiasm to make a statement and carve out a position for himself in the team going forward.”
Isiekwe has been part of the ‘A’ setup since 2015 and has represented England throughout the youth levels. Isiekwe was a key figure in England’s U20 Six Nations Grand-Slam triumph earlier in 2017.
Having impressed on his Premiership debut at Stadium MK at the weekend, this call-up will be a steep learning curve for the teenage lock-forward as he takes on the challenge of facing an experienced Argentine squad.