Rising rugby star Emeka Ilione  - The Rugby Observer

Rising rugby star Emeka Ilione 

Rugby Editorial 29th Aug, 2020   0

Eighteen year old Emeka Ilione is head boy at Rugby School and plays rugby for England – last year captaining the England U18s in South Africa. He’s also being featured in the September issue of Rugby World magazine as their rising star.  

Luckily for us; Rugby World sent us their interview with Emeka so we can read all about him before the magazine hits the shelves on September 1st.

Rising Star Emeka Ilione:

When did you first play rugby?  

At 11 – I moved to Nottingham High School and it was the major sport there, so I gave it a go and enjoyed it. The team spirit and social side is what really got me into it.

Did you play any other sports?

I played football for Nottingham Forest U10/U11. It got to the point when I was no longer having fun with it and it was nice to try something different like rugby.

What was your first position?

I started in the centres, 13. Then as I progressed, with the skills I had, I found I was more suited to playing in the back row. I moved there when I was 15 or 16. I think back-rowers have got to do it all going forward.

Any childhood heroes?  

In football, Ronaldo. I’m also a big tennis fan and love that Roger Federer, even though he’s the best in the world, is always trying to find ways to improve. That is something I try to do not just in rugby but in life. My dad calls it the pursuit of excellence.

What do you want to improve rugby-wise?  

I’ve been working a lot on the breakdown, trying to make it a point of difference. My strength would be ball-carrying, especially in the wider channels.

What representative honours do you have? 

I played for England U18 last summer in South Africa. That was an amazing experience. I was lucky enough to captain the side. I enjoy having that pressure; I’d much rather learn in a pressurised situation and it’s an opportunity to show what I can do.

When did you join Leicester?  

I’ve been there all the way through, from EPDG U13. I started full-time a month ago.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?  

Probably Jamie Taylor, Leicester’s former academy manager. He’s the one who really helped me with detail and gave me the belief that I was good enough to go full-time.

What are your goals for the next year?  

As I’m going to uni, the biggest thing I’m focusing on is working hard in training and making sure I’m ready to take the opportunities when they come.

What are you studying?      

Grades permitting, I’m going to UCL to study medicine. The uni are flexible and will try to fit things around Leicester. I’m trying to plan exactly what I can do – it’s doable but takes some organising. I’ll do the first year full-time, then probably go part-time and spread the course over a longer period.

RW Verdict: He’s only just finished school but Ilione has already impressed Maro Itoje, who picked him in his Nigerian British XV. And Jamie Roberts has given him advice on balancing rugby with a medical degree. Definitely a name to watch. 

Thanks to Rugby World Magazine for sharing this interview with us and best of luck to Emeka in his future career.

For Rugby World online go to:  www.rugbyworld.com


Pic credit: England Under 18 Rugby and Rugby World Magazine



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