Ethan Roots emerges from whirlwind to offer England a firm foundation

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Flanker’s leadership qualities have shone through under Steve Borthwick after a turbulent path to his first cap

Life has been full of surprises for England’s new back-row Ethan Roots of late. First there was a call-up by Steve Borthwick just a few months after arriving at Exeter, then came a first start against Italy last Saturday and a man‑of‑the‑match award to go with it. Nothing tops the surprise he got afterwards, however, upon learning that his mother, Cara, had flown out from New Zealand to watch the Auckland-born flanker make his debut.

“My dad is back in Auckland but my mum flew out and surprised me,” says Roots. “I saw her for the first time in quite a while. That was pretty special as well. She arrived [the night before the game]. I don’t know how she planned it all. Her and my partner landed at the same time. They kept it under wraps. It was a nice surprise.

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Written by Gerard Meagher
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