Friday 28 October 2016

One outrageous stat shows just how much England star Maro Itoje has dominated European rugby

Published 15/05/2016 | 16:29

It is time to believe the hype.

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After starting for Saracens in their Aviva Premiership final win over Bath last year, the then 20-year-old Maro Itoje was showered with praise.

The rangy second row, who can also play at blindside flanker, is exceptional at the lineout, carries the ball aggressively and competes tigerishly for the ball at the breakdown. He truly is the complete player and this season he has proved it week after week.

After initially being kept out of the England squad at the start of the 2016 Six Nations, Itoje was eventually partnered in the second row with his clubmate George Kruis as the team won their first Grand Slam since 2003.

Itoje carried that form into his club campaign, winning European Player of the Year after Saracens won the Champions Cup yesterday after beating Racing Metro 21-9 in the decider.

If you have seen Itoje play at all this year, you probably came away thinking the versatile forward was the dominant presence, and you weren't imagining it. This stat from BBC commentator Brian Moore perfectly captures just how amazingly good the youngster has been throughout his breakout season.

Whenever Itoje has started a game this season, his team have come out on top, with the one blemish of his 2015/16 campaign - an away league loss to Harlequins - coming after he began the game on the bench.

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