Cardiff Blues’ promising youngster, Theo Bevacqua, is taking inspiration from his prop idols as he looks to continue his development ahead of a move to the Welsh capital next season.
The Wales under-20 international, who was identified through the Welsh Exiles programme, has joined the Cardiff Blues academy and will move to the capital after completing his studies at Eastbourne College. He will go on to study Economics and Philosophy at Cardiff University.
Bevacqua, who has spent time at the Harlequins set-up, has already featured for Cardiff Blues A during this season’s Celtic Cup competition, and was a key player for Wales under-20 in the recent Six Nations Championship.
The youngster is ecstatic to have the opportunity to learn from Cardiff Blues academy and Wales under-20 coach, Gethin Jenkins, and looks up to the likes of Wyn Jones, Joe Marler and Rob Evans.
Speaking to The Rugby Paper, as part of their 'Young Guns' series, Bevacqua said: "I played for Heathfield Rugby Club from the age of five before doing some stuff with Harlequins.
"Originally, I played back row but they pushed me towards the front row and I bounced between tight-head, loose-head and hooker before settling at number one.
"Joe Marler lived in Heathfield and I’d see him at the club now and again. So, as a local boy, seeing someone who’d been there and done it and was doing really well hit home to me that you can enjoy a good career in rugby and it gave me extra motivation.
"However, it was a bit of a weird one because I had three potential international routes available to me. My dad’s Italian - hence the name - and my mum’s family is Welsh, so Wales became my first choice with the help of the Welsh Exiles programme.
"Gareth Davies, the national exiles officer, got me involved when I was 15 and although it seemed like a long shot, I took any opportunities he could get me and I’ve managed to play for Wales under-18, under-19 and for the under-20 side in this year’s Six Nations.
"I had the opportunity to do a year at Quins and focus on conditioning and getting my body right strength-wise, but the Blues have me opportunities to play in the Celtic Cup earlier this season and then offered me a longer period on my contract.
"The university side of things was quite attractive, too, so it seemed like a no-brainer; I can now carry on studying while staying with the Blues throughout my time there and it will give me another avenue to pursue to it’s not just about rugby all the time.
"Gethin Jenkins coaches there and he was with the under-20s as well, doing defence and scrummaging.
"It’s been pretty surreal working with someone of his stature but I’m just learning as much as I can.
"During the Six Nations I constantly asked him questions, tapping into his knowledge, and it’ll be fantastic to work with such a high-calibre coach.
"I like the way Rob Evans players and his ball skills are very good, while Wyn Jones has been starting for Wales and is a top scrummager. Stuying how both those guys go about their business is great."