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England and British Lions rugby star opens up on faith

Mon 08 May 2017
By Marcus Jones

Maro Itoje, the England and British Lions rugby star, has opened up about his Christian faith.

In an in-depth interview with the BBC 5Live, the Saracens forward said the reason he's doing what he's doing is because of God.

Despite being just 22 years old, he's already picked up 12 caps for his country and this summer he will tour New Zealand with the British Lions.

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"I feel as if everything I have, everything I've been given and the position I am in is as a a result of God," he said. "He can take it away but fortunately he's given it to me."

Nicknamed 'Super Maro', Itoje captained England to victory in the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship.

Just two years later he won the European Champions Cup with Saracens picking up the European player of the year award too.

Talking about his rise to the top of the sport, he said: "Everything I am doing is not within my power its through [God's] power.

"It's about giving all the praise and glory back to him."

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Itoje also discussed the biggest influences in his life including his family.

But he had special words for boxer Muhammad Ali.

"He put his religious and political beliefs before his boxing," he said. "He stood up against the civil rights movement, he stood up against war.

"He started when he was 21. I think he is an incredible person to look up to."

Itoje will once again compete in the European Champions Cup final on Saturday looking to win the trophy for the second year running.

Saracens will take on French side Clermont at Edinburgh's Murrayfield stadium.

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