If there was one Lions player the All Blacks would have been wary of even before the Lions jetted off to New Zealand it would have been Maro Itoje.
The England lock has been one of the most impressive players over the last two seasons in northern hemisphere rugby and his stock just continues to rise. For such a young player, he has already achieved a great amount in the game and he plays like a man with experience well beyond his years.
His power, dynamism, athleticism and strength make him one of the most formidable locks in world rugby and at just 22 years of age, the Saracens man is only going to get better and better.
Murmurings coming out of Auckland last weekend revealed that Itoje wasn’t one bit happy with being named on the bench so you can fully expect a full-throttle performance from him come Saturday. He will now have another responsibility from his usual duties around the park and that will be calling the lineouts but it’s not something that he is concerned about.
“Yeah, it obviously changes my role in terms of me calling lineouts! I’ve done this in the past so it’s not something that’s new. A lot of the games where I have come off the bench or even when I have started I’ve been calling this Tour.
“So it’s not something that’s been sprung upon me. I’ve been preparing for moments like this. Obviously, there’s a bit more preparation when it comes to planning et cetera but it’s business as usual for me.”
Based on what we have seen of Itoje over the last few weeks at least, he certainly won’t have any problems with the additional responsibility placed on his shoulders.
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