The “Runaway Rhino” Kyle Sinckler stormed through the Australia team to seize England’s semi-final place in the Rugby World Cup.
But he is not one of the wealthy privately-educated boys usually associated with rugby union in England.
And the 19st prop forward credits two women for powering him to success in a rich-boys’ game – his mum Donna and school rugby coach Stacia Long.
After helping England to victory, Kyle, 26, thanked his mum, who “made me the person I am today”.
Donna, 53, was in Japan to see him score his first international try on Saturday.
Kyle said: “I saw her in the crowd. She was pretty emotional.
“It’s been a long, long journey for me and her.”
Donna, 53, still works 12-hour shifts at a police call centre and gave Kyle strong guidance through his life.
So strong that Kyle reckons she’s even tougher than the England rugby coach Eddie Jones.
He said: “You think Eddie’s a tough taskmaster? Mama Sinckler, mate. I tell you, she put me in my place.”
At Graveney School, a state school in Wandsworth, South London, there was no rugby team until Kyle set one up and asked teacher Stacia if she’d coach it.
Kyle still texts Stacia before each game, and still calls her “Miss”.
Stacia said: “If anyone wants to know Kyle’s true character they should have seen his reaction if any of the other kids said anything about the fact that he had a female coach. If you heard how protective he was about me, that shows somebody’s true character.”
Donna kept her son busy with sport to keep him from the gang violence in Furzedown, South London.
Kyle said: “When I was a kid I had rugby, football and cricket. I did kick boxing, weightlifting, I was always busy.”
Donna took eight-year-old Kyle, dressed in a full Man U kit, for rugby training with Battersea Ironsides.
Kyle said: “We’d struggle to get 15 players. We’d be borrowing players from the other team to play for us.
“In this current climate, especially in South London, a lot of kids don’t have that opportunity. That’s why there are a lot of things happening with knife crime and stuff.
“They’re just bored. They haven’t got anything to do. One guy from school, the other day, he died. He opened his front door, got shot in the face. It’s just crazy.”
Kyle went to fee-paying Epsom College for sixth form on a scholarship, but Stacia says he proves top rugby union players can come from outside public schools, and from ethnic minorities.
She said: “There are not many black people playing rugby union at the top level in this country. We should be using Kyle as a role model.”
Back at Kyle’s childhood home, neighbours remember him fondly.
Rhamona Greaves said: “He made it on to the team, the Harlequins, so I invited him round for tea.
“It was a good job I bought two chickens as he had a whole big massive roast chicken all to himself.
“I gave it to him because I knew that he can eat – I just didn’t realise how much he bloody ate.
“You don’t want to take him out to eat, buy him a drink, maybe, but don’t take him out to eat because you’ll be broke.”