English star Maro Itoje says being in the spotlight is a GOOD thing and it can help increase the popularity of rugby … as long as players make sure their career remains the priority over business activities.
- England rugby starter Maro Itoje has encouraged players to be the center of attention
- Eddie Jones’ awkward comments on Emma Raducanu highlighted rugby’s cautious attitude towards fame
- Itoje believes that a healthy balance should be achieved between sporting and commercial activities
- “ If you keep the main thing in the main, then it is not a problem, ” Itoje said.
England fan boy Maro Itoje believes that rugby players must be prepared to be the center of attention in order to grow the sport.
Eddie Jones highlighted rugby’s overly cautious attitude to fame this week with an awkward comparison between revolutionary star Marcus Smith and US Open tennis champion Emma Raducanu.
Unlike tennis, cricket and Formula One, rugby has struggled to expand its audience, and Danny Cipriani described the attitudes as backward and outdated in his Sportsmail column.
Maro Itoje has encouraged rugby players to embrace the spotlight to help grow the sport
Itoje, photographed with rapper Jay-Z, said that a balance must be struck between sports and commercial activities.
Itoje was recently photographed with hip hop superstar Jay Z and Lock believes there is a healthy balance between sporting and business activities.
“If the main thing is the main thing, and the main thing is to play rugby, then it is not a problem,” said Itoje. “If you consider other things more important than rugby, that’s when it becomes a problem.
‘If you keep the main thing as the main thing and don’t start taking shortcuts because of X, Y and Z, I think you will be fine.
Eddie Jones’ recent comments on Emma Raducanu (pictured) highlighted rugby’s cautious attitude towards fame.
Jones said ‘distractions’ are behind Raducanu not doing so well since his US Open win.
“Rugby as a sport is not the dominant sport in this country. Rugby is always looking to expand its reach, its fan base, and its customer base. I think the way he does it is by telling stories about individuals, clubs, coaches and staff.
I think people connect with those stories. The more we can tell that story in a non-generic way, the more we will connect with an ever-expanding audience. ‘
Today at Twickenham, Itoje will start alongside Smith for the first time for England. Itoje arrived on the international scene with the same expectations and has backed the number 10 to handle everything that comes his way, on and off the pitch.
“I shared a room with Marcus last week,” Itoje said. ‘He is a brilliant individual. He’s a down-to-earth type of guy. Obviously, he’s extremely talented and has a great attitude.
The forward is preparing for his 50th international game for England this weekend against Australia.
There is not much you need to say or do anything to. He has a good head on his shoulders. It will be OK ‘.
It will also be a historic occasion for Itoje, who will lead the team to mark their 50th England Test. The 27-year-old has yet to be rewarded with an official leadership role within the team, yet he feels he is now in a position to pass on his experience to younger guys like the 22-year-old Smith.
“As a player, I like to boost the energy of the team,” he said. “ I like to lead with my actions and try to be as vocal as possible on the field and conduct things that way.
‘Eddie has empowered me to do all of those things. I’m almost 50 international matches, so I think maybe I have a little more experience and I can pass that on to the slightly younger members of the team.
“Regardless of what the team needs me to do, there is no ego here, I just want this team to succeed.”