Maro Itoje didn't hesitate when naming his toughest opponent, he couldn't get close - Ruck

Maro Itoje didn’t hesitate when naming his toughest opponent, he couldn’t get close

Maro Itoje, the formidable lock for England, the British and Irish Lions, and Saracens, tends to refrain from offering praise to his opponents.

Join our Breaking News and Top Stories WhatsApp community for all the latest news direct to your phone.

When asked to name his toughest opponent by The Times he was less than open with his response.

“Good question,” he replied. “The other second row, outside of the locks in England, that I hold in the highest regard is probably … I don’t actually like complimenting people in my position to be honest.

“I don’t even want to give them the compliment. I guess we’ll leave it at that.”

However, during other interviews the 26-year-old has given a bit of an inside look into some of his opponents.

He didn’t include Eben Etzebeth…

#3. Charles Piutau

A dynamic and versatile rugby sensation, Charles Piutau hails from New Zealand and has lit up rugby fields worldwide with his electrifying pace and exceptional skills. Known for his stints with the All Blacks and Bristol Bears, Piutau is a true game-changer in the rugby world.

 Itoje said:For me it’s always those quick guys you can’t quite get a hold of that give me the most trouble for sure. I’m not sure if I’ve played him this year but Piutau is a real handful.”

#2. Alun Wyn Jones

Welsh rugby legend and the embodiment of leadership, Alun Wyn Jones has earned his place among the sport’s greats. As a seasoned lock forward, he has captained both the Welsh national team and the British and Irish Lions, demonstrating unwavering commitment and indomitable spirit on the field.

Itoje said: “He was on another level. I’ve got a lot of respect and admiration for Alun Wyn, and I always preferred having him as a teammate than going up against him. It’s sad that I likely won’t play with him again now.

“‘It seemed like he was created in a lab.'”

#1. Steve Borthwick

A former England international and renowned rugby coach, Steve Borthwick has transitioned seamlessly into coaching after a successful playing career. His strategic insights and coaching prowess have made a significant impact on teams like England and Leicester Tigers, earning him respect in the rugby coaching fraternity.

Itoje said: “I thought I’d be able to beat him for speed, on physical prowess alone. But I couldn’t get anywhere close. Not only was he technically brilliant but it was also the intelligence of how he called, found space and manipulated opponents.”

Steve Borthwick, Head Coach of England Rugby during the England Rugby Captains Run ahead of the Six Nations Match between Wales and England at Principality Stadium, London on 24 Feb 2023 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

Mike Tindall is one of rugby’s richest men with huge net worth

The rugby world isn’t just about breathtaking tries and fierce tackles; it’s also a realm where fortunes are made. Here’s the lowdown on the top 10 wealthiest rugby players right now:

10. Owen Farrell – £1.46 million ($2 million)
Saracens are making waves in the Premiership, and Owen Farrell, their skipper, is reaping the rewards. The bulk of his net worth, a cool £1.46 million, flows directly from his dedication to Saracens.

9. Maro Itoje – £1.46 million ($2 million)
Teammate to Farrell both at England and Saracens, Maro Itoje is on a trajectory to become one of rugby’s highest earners. His salary, comparable to the national skipper’s, showcases his potential.

8. Charles Piutau – £1.85 million ($2.5 million)
Former All Blacks player Charles Piutau’s move to Bristol Bears came with an eyewatering salary. The club’s investment in him during his five seasons speaks volumes about his impact.