Being compared to a stellar rugby name can be a burden around a young player’s neck.
But if Tom Rogers worries about being compared to Liam Williams, he does a good job of disguising him.
“To be compared to Sanjay is awesome,” he says with the confidence of the youngsters and using the name Williams is known to everyone at the Scarlets.
“He was my idol growing up. To be something like him would be amazing.
It’s still early days for Rogers, of course, but the progress he’s made this season has been telling. He has the invaluable ability to fashion something from nothing – in more colorful terms, to turn straw into gold.
The try he scored against Connacht in March involved one of the best stages of the season, leaving opposing full-back John Porch chasing the shadows.
He can also defend himself.
Against Cardiff Blues earlier this month, he pulled off a rescue tackle on Josh Turnbull that involved a wonderful engagement, and he followed up with key second half turnover.
In a game where attacking chances were tight, he also created a half-break that put Dane Blacker on top.
Rogers has so much left to teach – he hasn’t been introduced to the world of athletic press conferences for a long time, even though he handled the one he did this week without a hitch, posing as a friendly guy. and friendly.
There is no doubt that he has potential on the pitch.
Along with Mat Protheroe and Rio Dyer he is part of a trio of young wings who are striving to make the Welsh squad for testing with Argentina and Canada this summer.
Whether he is called by Wayne Pivac or not in the coming months, he is on the right track.
“I would say it’s going to be capped over the next 12 months,” said an observer close to the Wales year-classes season, who did not want to be named but has followed Rogers’ progress since. his teenage years.
“He’s so good. He is six feet tall, lean strong and very lanky, with that type of commitment from Liam Williams to the way he does things.
“He can play 15 years and wing. For me, 15 is his best position.
“What I like about him is that he doesn’t rest on his laurels.
“He wants to be an air king. Sanjay and Dan Biggar tick the boxes there, and Tom wants it too, so he’s working on it.
“I think he has all the credentials to be an international full-back.
“But it’s also a wing that cracks. Let’s just say that as a player, he has all the qualities to be successful.
Johnny McNicholl is one of the fastest wings in Welsh rugby, but Rogers is also quick, which is proven in the regular speed tests the Scarlets perform.
There’s a refreshing humility about him too – a just grateful quality to play for his home side.
“Ever since I was a kid playing for Cefneithin, my only dream was to play for Scarlets,” says Rogers, who is from Cross Hands.
“So it’s surreal playing next to boys like Sanjay, Leigh Halfpenny, Steff (Evans) and Johnny Mac (McNicholl).
“In each session, I choose their brain, learning new things.
“I learned a lot and had some playing time. I can’t ask for more, really.
The youngster also underwent media training, asking a question about Wales with a polite ‘what will be – I’m just looking to play well for the Scarlets’.
He almost forgets his lines later in the session when asked if he’s ready to take the next step for Wales “because it would be a great experience”.
“Yes, one hundred percent. I’m comfortable, ”he said, before quickly returning to the script.
“But I’m just trying to play well for the Scarlets.
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“My job is to play for the Scarlets. This is what I am trying to do.
He looks from a hot prospect.
Pivac’s appeal is whether to ask him to keep three weeks of July free in his journal.
But whatever happens on that front, Rogers can expect a summons from Wales at some point.
He is a young player who is evolving.