- Centre Javiah Pohe on playing for England U18
- Massively proud to play for England – Pohe
Photo: RFU Archive
England Under 18 centre Javiah Pohe’s route to John Fletcher’s side isn’t the most conventional.
Born in Napier to a Kiwi dad and a Cornish mum, Javiah spent his formative years playing rugby league for Wainuionata before a move to England and Leicester Tigers, via Cornwall, gave the 17-year-old the chance to play union.
He scored his first international try against Georgia in the opening game of this season’s FIRA tournament, his country’s final score in the 58-8 win, but is quick to remember how it all began.
Still with a prominent New Zealand twang, he said: “My parents got me into rugby when I was five years old – my dad played and I followed in his footsteps. I started off with a bit of touch at my local club in New Zealand and then gave union a go when I came over to England to live in Cornwall.
“It was great living on the south coast, I tried my hand at surfing and started to play union for Redruth. It was a great environment to learn the game – on the beach and in the sun, I really enjoyed it.”
Photo: RFU Archive
New Zealand is never far from Javiah’s thoughts though, and with last year’s World Cup in his home country, he watched the final celebrations with a smile on his face.
“I’m proud of my heritage,” he said. “I love watching the All Blacks play, their players are role models. But I’m also massively proud to play for England.”
Javiah’s move to Leicester came about just before his 16th birthday when the Tigers academy manager got hold of his father, who was also coaching at Redruth, and he has been on an upward curve ever since.
“I got on for 20-minutes against Nottingham in a pre-season friendly which was good, and have also played three A-League games this season,” he said.
Photo: Getty Images
“I’m really enjoying it at Tigers and it’s good to see young guys like Manu [Tuilagi] and George Ford given first team opportunities.”
Back with his England hat on, Javiah says that he enjoys the change in environment and mixing it up with Fletcher (“a great coach and really funny”) and the brightest young things of the English game.
“I like coming away because it’s something new, we have a really good group of players who all play for each other and play for the shirt and that’s what it’s all about.
“There are some really talented players in the centres and I enjoy the competition. Our aim is to improve game on game and so far I think we’re achieving that.”