Feb 02, 2016
In Focus - Lamositele's star continues to rise
Petrus Du Plessis was superb, and I’m not sure how he wasn’t Man of the Match, as to scrummage that way against Marcos Ayerza takes some doing. I thought he was brilliant today." - See more at: http://www.saracens.com/news-article/mccall-hails-pack-performance-after-tigers-result#sthash.tZ9etc1v.dpuf
Young prop forward Titi Lamositele is the latest player to come under the microscope in this week’s instalment of In Focus.
“One of the turning points of the game was I thought when we brought Titi on. The kid is only 21 years-old, he plays tighthead for the USA and he comes on at loosehead and he changes the game. He was superb,” – Mark McCall.
Saracens director of rugby is a man who keeps his cards close to his chest. Yet, after seeing his side complete a stunning turnaround to beat Bath at Allianz Park the two-time Premiership winner couldn’t resist to lavish praise on a Saracens’ young prop forward by the name of Titi Lamositele.
Entering the fray after 57-minutes, replacing the barnstorming Richard Barrington (who also impressed on the day), the quiet and unassuming USA front row forward was thrust into the white heat of the battle as Sarries looked to claw themselves back into a game that many onlookers would have been forgiven to thinking was dead and buried.
Lamositele was up against two England internationals for Bath, in Henry Thomas and David Wilson and was in a destructive mood as he produced a performance that signifies a promising future for the 21-year old.
But, where has Titi Lamositele come from to become one of the club’s rising starts? Here we charter Titi’s journey from Gridiron fanatic in his home town of Washington, Seattle, to USA Eagles World Cup star.
This Sporting Life
Growing up, Titi was a youngster who excelled at many sports. Lamositele played America football, wrestled and competed in track and field at Sehome High School, whose notable alumni includes actress Hilary Swank and TV and Radio personality, Glenn Beck.
The prop was a high school football star before getting into rugby. Though his family is Samoan and each of his brothers and sisters played the game, Lamositele did not pick up the rugby ball until watching his high school team play.
“I didn’t really want to play,” he said. “I was really into (American) football. But I went to one of my best friend’s rugby games and the coach said, ‘Hey, we have a place for you if you want to play.’ I just tried it and after that it just stuck with me.”
Titi honed his skills at Chuckanut Bay RFC, his home club in Bellingham, Washington that has produced three current Eagles in Lamositele, Shawn Pittman and Nick Wallace.
Lamositele played for the USA Rugby AIG Boys High School All-Americans before getting called up to the Men’s Eagles During the Eagles’ World Cup qualifier against Canada at Blackbaud Stadium August 17, 2013, he broke the record for the youngest player to play for the Eagles. He was also a member of the Eagles Select XVs at the 2013 IRB Americas Rugby Championship in Langford, British Columbia as his stock continued to rise.
Now firmly in USA rugby’s focus Lamositele made his first appearance at Allianz Park for the Eagles in their international against Russia in November 2013 alongside Saracens star Chris Wyles. Lamositele signed a contract with Saracens that month to link up with Wyles, and the returning Hayden Smith who returned to club after a spell in the NFL with the New York Jets.
World Cup showing
The 2015 Rugby World Cup will be remembered for the Tier 2 nations inspiring exploits. Teams such as Japan set the tournament alight whilst some impressive personal performances from players such a Lamositele underlined the growth in the game. Titi was the cornerstone of the USA Eagles pack of forwards, and his exposure at the highest level of the game was a real positive for both player and club.
Lamositele rapid rise shows no signs of abating. Despite his tender years for a front row forward Titi already has ten appearances for Sarries, and a LV=Cup winners medal from last season. With some stellar props either side of the scrum on the club’s roster Titi’s impressive performances give Mark McCall a welcome boost with players such as Mako Vunipola (international duty) Rhys Gill (suspension) Juan Figallo and Kieran Longbottom (injury) having been unavailable for selection.