- Date of Birth20 Mar 2002
Back-rower Emeka Ilione joined the Leicester Tigers academy in 2018 after playing his early rugby with Nottingham High School and Nottingham Corsairs RFC.
Previously a basketball player at county level as well as playing football, Emeka says he first got into rugby after playing in his first year of secondary school.
“Some friends introduced me to Corsairs and it went from there really,” he explains.
“I was invited to a trial for the DPP at Newark and the coaches were really good and really helped me with the technical aspects of the game.”
Emeka first experienced Welford Road as part of the crowd at Tigers’ famous win over Toulon in the pool stages of the Champions Cup in 2014/15, and then had the opportunity to play on the pitch himself in last year’s Under-18 league.
“It was unreal to run out at Welford Road,” he says. “It was nice to see where I could be in a couple of years, and really reinvigorates the desire to keep working, and keep that motivation.”
Emeka identifies club legend Martin Johnson as the one former player he would most like to play alongside.
“Definitely Martin Johnson, for his physicality and his leadership,” he explains. “Particularly his defence – just having someone like that to play alongside would be awesome, and a really cool experience.”
Emeka was among four Tigers academy players selected for the England Under-18 development tour to South Africa in the August 2019.
Getting to know you
If you could meet a famous person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Muhammad Ali. He was so charismatic and if you started the conversation not believing he was The Greatest, I’m sure you would believe it by the end.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
The ability to fly. Everyone wants to be able to fly don’t they?
What fillings would you add to your perfect sandwich?
There’s nothing better than BLT.