Having only signed a senior contract at the start of the season, a string of exciting performances have earned young Wasps starlet Jacob Umaga a new upgraded contract.
The new deal comes after a man of the match performance in last weekends 32-14 Challenge Cup victory over Agen. Umaga scored 12 points and produced a fine kicking performance as well as a solid defensive display.
Wasps have struggled this season to gel as a team and deliver a complete performance until last weekend with the youngster being instrumental in getting the team back to winning ways domestically. Dai Young will be hoping Umaga can repay the faith paid in him by continuing his form.
So here is all you need to know about the young Wasps fly-half…
Rugby runs in the family
As the name may suggest, the 21-year-old as some well known relatives. He is the son of former Samoa star Mike Umaga as well as nephew to the All Blacks legendary centre Tana Umaga. However, he is keen to be his own player, speaking to the Daily Mail in 2015 saying:
“A few people put more pressure on me because of the name, for me, I am just Jacob, I don’t really use my second name.
‘People think, “He’s Tana’s nephew, he is going to be this or that”. My uncle was a great player so there is a lot of pressure.”
His mother also brings experience who played for Great Britain Rugby League.
He is Yorkshire-born
Umaga was born in Halifax in West Yorkshire and started playing the game at Old Brodleians. Being from the North, he says he watched more league than union as a child being a Bradford Bulls supporter and was said to have watched videos of league star Benji Marshall before games.
Umaga moved to Coventry when his father was coaching there and joined the Leicester Tigers academy after his time at Kenilworth school. He then moved to his current side at the age of 18 and has pushed on since.
Well travelled for a 21-year-old
Umaga has ventured the globe over the past seasons to get game time. The young fly-half travelled to New Zealand to play in the 2018 Mitre 10 cup in a victorious Auckland side.
He then returned to England and participated in the Premiership Rugby Shield for Wasps A before making the trip from Coventry to Headingley and going on dual registration with Yorkshire Carnegie.
He featured regularly for the Championship side before their financial issues became prominent. In the Premiership Rugby Shield he scored 82 points, including three tries, in seven matches.
The youngster has played for England at under 18 and under 20’s but is also eligible to play for Samoa and New Zealand. Umaga’s rugby heroes are two Kiwi fly-halves in the form of Dan Carter and Carlos Spencer.
However, Umaga has displayed his love for his Polynesian heritage and looks more likely to favour Samoa if he chose to represent a southern hemisphere nations.
A versatile player
Umaga offers Wasps boss Young many options with his positional flexibity. Conventionally a ten, Umaga can also play centre and fullback which he has shown in the Premiership cup and Shield.
Young spoke earlier in the season about the importance of squad depth if Wasps are to be successful this season. Umaga provides that across the board and has shown his quality to push for a starting spot recently.
The youngster has a great opportunity to capitalise on Lima Sopoaga not being able to replicate his Super Rugby form since arriving at the Ricoh Arena. He offers a bit of diversity with his play-making abilities and Cipriani-esque skills to terrorise opposition defences. Along with his strong defence and kicking ability, he has the ability to secure a starting spot this season.
“Main photo credit”