As a budding England tighthead prop, ask 18-year-old London Irish tyro Luke Green who his ideal role model would be and the answer is unequivocal.
“Dan Cole,” says Green, who hails from Richmond, has represented his local club in National League One this season and is currently with England U20s for their Six Nations campaign after being picked a year early.
“Dan’s an England legend and I like the way he developed his game. He used to be an out-and-out scrummager but as the game evolved, he evolved with it and he brings a lot more to the field now than just his set-piece.
“He’s making really dominant shots and carries but his core game is still there – in my eyes he’s still a top scrummager.”
While Cole’s international ambitions have been placed on hold, Green is England’s future.
Coming through the junior rugby ranks, Green was actually a useful shot putter as well, representing Middlesex at school level until the age of 16. However, as rugby began to dominate, his propping prowess saw him snapped up by London Irish.
Green explained: “I enjoyed shot put, but London Irish got me into their AASE programme and then their academy, so I’ve concentrated on rugby since then.
“Richmond was my first club as a six-year-old playing tag before I made a switch to their rivals, Rosslyn Park. Recently, though, I’ve been grateful to Richmond for having me back on loan. Steve Hill’s a great coach and after doing some time in their Seconds, I worked my way into the First XV alongside what I’ve been doing for London Irish in the A-League.
“Richmond’s a great club and I was excited to go back there and represent them. If I get to go there again after the U20s Six Nations, that’ll be great.”
Green, who dabbled with playing loosehead before identifying himself as a career No.3, has good mentors at Irish as well. He explained: “Lovejoy Chawatama’s been a big influence for me, along with Ross McMillan. Those two have really taken the lead with my scrum development while around the park it’s mainly Jon Fisher, our academy coach.
“Jon coached me with England U18s last year as well and has been a great mentor in terms of my transition from the junior academy to the seniors. He’s been there and done everything in England age groups himself when he was a player, which is what I’m going through now, so to have that kind of guidance at my age is proving to be invaluable.”
As for the here and now, Green adds: “Being with England U20s is an exciting opportunity and I’m looking forward to having two years at it. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can now, make a mark for myself and hopefully do the same next year. I’ll do everything I can to start in the Six Nations and hopefully get a shot at the Junior World Cup.”
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