‘There’s literally not a black scrum-half in the Premiership’ – Paolo Odogwu speaks out on racial profiling in rugby
The Gallagher Premiership’s newest star, Paolo Odogwu, has spoken out on racial profiling in English rugby in a newly released interview.
The 23-year-old Wasps winger made the remarks in a recent talk with The XV in which he discussed his breakthrough season in England’s top flight.
The full interview can be found at The XV.Rugby
Paolo Odogwu has thrived in the Gallagher Premiership this season after earning himself a starting position in Lee Blackett’s side.
The English back has moved in from the wing to play in the centres in recent appearances which has led to the 23-year-old enjoying more time on the ball, with devastating results for Wasps.
In the recent interview with The XV, Odogwu spoke on what it was like to finally break into the side’s starting fifteen and what rugby can do to encourage a global icon to emerge within the sport.
Odogwu said, “Ten years ago, if I’d rocked up with my red dreadlocks, dressing how I dress, people would have been like, ‘This guy’s a p***k’,” he went on to say. “Rugby is all still quite polite and very proper. It’s hard to get your personality across without seeming cocky or brash or that you’re too good for it.”
the 23-year-old gave a standout performance against Bath last weekend
Paolo Odogwu is a joy to watch for @WaspsRugby 🔥
Edge-of-your-seat stuff any time he touches the ball!#PremRugby pic.twitter.com/61S5OXCZFg
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) January 9, 2021
The back, who is tipped to feature in England’s upcoming Six Nations campaign, then went on to talk about black player’s image within the game.
“When I was 11, I weighed 70KG, but I was also one of the fastest people in my school,” . “They just threw me in at prop because I was big. I ended up making a 60m line break and scoring and the referee told me I was too fast to be a prop.
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He added, “A lot of younger black players would be put on the wing straight away. You are pigeon-holed into those physicality or athleticism positions as opposed to being tried in the half-backs. If you put them at nine or 10 and developed their ball-playing ability, the best nines are all quick, and so are some of the best 10s, because they can make decisions on the line and make a break if a pass isn’t on. You don’t get that development of players unless you actually put them there.”
“That is why there literally isn’t a black scrum-half in the Premiership, and there is one black fly-half. Unless you start developing that at a young age, and you can see boys like you playing in those positions, it’s not going to happen.”
watch full highlights of Odogwu’s man of the match performance last week in the video below
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