Theo Brophy-Clews is humble enough to admit he still has a long way to go before he fulfils his potential – but the teenage fly-half insists those growing pains will stand him in good stead at London Irish.
Few 19-year-olds have been thrown into the Aviva Premiership Rugby firing line quite as often as Brophy-Clews, having made ten appearances in a breakthrough year ahead of the season closer against Wasps.
And circumstances have not been the easiest either – with the Exiles consigned to bottom place after their defeat to Harlequins last weekend.
What is clear however is that Brophy-Clews will prove a key part of head coach Tom Coventry’s thinking moving forward, as he was pinned down to a contract extension back in January.
It is a challenge that the academy product is only too keen to take charge of and Brophy-Clews believes that he will look back at the 2015/16 campaign as a turning point for the better.
“They’ve put a lot of trust in me and that’s all credit to them as coaches,” he said. “The main thing is being involved week in week out, whether that’s off the bench of the full 80, and push myself. That’s the only way I’ll get better as a player.
“I’ve had more involvement this year and I’ve loved the pressure that comes with playing in the Premiership and taking on a lot of amazing players.
“And it’s great to have played as much as I have, though I know I’m not at the end of my development and I’ll admit that I’ve struggled a lot at times.
“But that’s where I want to be, in the first team and playing rather than coasting – I’ve enjoyed the challenges that come with it.”
There is no glossing over the fact that this has been a difficult campaign for the Exiles and in truth the writing was on the wall following their defeat to 11th-place Newcastle Falcons some three weeks ago.
But according to Brophy-Clews, the disappointment can now be pushed aside as the club look forward to Coventry’s second season in the rebuilding process.
“It’s a setback in the club’s development – a lot of boys have been here for a long time and it’s not the situation we wanted to find ourselves in,” he added.
“But a lot of clubs have almost benefited from going down, with the change of focus knowing that you are not going to be playing in the Premiership but fighting and rebuilding to get back there.
“We will be able to focus more on our skill development as a team and how we want to play, rather than focusing on just the win at all costs.”
If you want to be at the world's biggest club rugby final, this year's Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 28 May at Twickenham, tickets are available from premiershiprugby.com/final.