Young Gun: Sam Grahamslaw – Leicester prop

Switching from the back row to prop is no easy feat fresh out of school, but Sam Grahamslaw will not have to look far for advice with Ellis Genge the perfect mentor at Leicester Tigers.

Grahamslaw spent the last two years in the club’s EPDG programme playing in the back row but, following the advice of England U18s coach Pete Walton, the same man who moved Genge to loosehead from No8 in 2013, he agreed to try his luck in the front row.

The 18-year-old, who stands at 6ft 4in and weighs 18st 6lb, played his first two games in his new position with England U18s last month and he is now looking forward to make the transition full-time in the Leicester academy.

“I’m really happy to be joining the Leicester academy next season and I was over the moon when they told me back in February,” he told The Rugby Paper. “It was an easy decision to accept their offer and given my recent switch I’m in the best place to learn the ropes as a prop.

“I played my first game at loosehead against Ireland in the International Series over Easter and I played at tighthead against Scotland after that.

“I’m leaning towards tighthead at the minute but I guess I’ll make a long-term decision with more game-time behind me. I’m at the best club to do that transition anyway with so many good props around.

“I’ve already spoken to Ellis and he said he’d be a good move for me. He was the same age when he switched so hopefully I can go on a similar path “Dan Cole is also at the club and Boris Stankovich is coaching in the academy so I will have plenty of brains to pick while working hard on my conditioning. Improving my posture and neck strength are key to making a successful move and I’ve already got going in the gym.”

Grahamslaw is now looking to test himself against the fiercest forwards around this summer before targeting more A-League exposure next season.

He added: “I should find out in the next two weeks whether I’ll tour South Africa with England U18s. It’d be a great place to improve my skills as a prop.

“After that I’ll be going back to Leicester to start in the academy there. I played in the A-League all season but that was in the back-five of the pack. Hopefully, I’ll be making good progress at prop and I’ll get a run against men.

“It was great to test myself in senior rugby this season but I’m sure it’ll another big challenge doing it as a prop.”

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