Martin Offiah’s son explains why he snubbed Wigan Warriors after trial with Super League champions

Ross Heppenstall

Martin Offiah is universally regarded as one of the greatest try-scorers in rugby league history and remains an iconic figure at Wigan Warriors for his feats in the cherry and white.

The legendary former winger’s son Tyler will not, however, be joining Wigan despite spending a day training with the reigning Super League champions.

The highly-rated 17-year-old is set to remain in rugby union and join Premiership giants Bath on a three-year contract in the summer upon completion of his A-Levels.

The intriguing prospect of a move to Wigan was raised, though, as the Wellington College student assessed his options. A keen NRL follower and big Brisbane Broncos fan, Tyler was tempted by the lure of league and a club where his father is revered.

A number of big Gallagher Premiership clubs – Sale Sharks, Leicester Tigers and Gloucester – also showed an interest in him.

Tyler actually trained with Sale and Wigan and visited Leicester and Bath as various carrots were dangled. The imposing starlet is set to opt for Bath, where he has an offer at the University of Bath to study Politics and International Relations in September.

Tyler is currently working towards completing his A-Levels in PE, Mathematics and Economics at Wellington College. The prodigy follows the progress of the likes of England winger Dom Young, who has proved a big hit in the NRL.

Offiah junior said: “I did a few visits around a few places – I went to train with Sale and I went to train with Wigan Warriors. Wigan was a great set-up and I really enjoyed myself during the day I spent there. It was definitely a great insight.

“I’ve been watching Dom Young for a while now and I’m big fan of rugby league in Australia. I’m definitely developing physically – I’m just over 6ft 3in but with my afro out I’m about 6ft 5in!

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“Weight-wise, a couple of months ago I was probably 91kg and now I’m around 97, 98 kgs. But I’m still able to move and my main thing right now is my speed.

“I do a lot of work on the athletics track trying to build up my speed because in rugby, speed kills.”

Offiah Jr has recently spent 13 days in camp with England Under-18s for the Six Nations U18s Men’s Festival, the first to be hosted in Italy.

They won three games from three in clashes with Wales, Scotland and Georgia and Tyler scored in two of the games. He was a centre before following in the footsteps of his famous father and moving to the wing.

Tyler added: “I wouldn’t say I’m out and out winger because when I started playing, all the way through to the age of 15, I played in the centres and then switched positions.

“In Year 11, I wanted to play for the first-team at St Benedict’s but they already had quite a lot of centres so I went to the wing.

“That was pretty cool, being so young playing for the first XV at my school, so that’s when I started playing on the wing. But playing centre definitely developed my handling skills.

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“In Year 8, a lot of boys were bigger than me – I was born in June so I’m young for my year and was quite a late developer – so a big thing was sticking at it and doing my skills.

“From Year 8 to Year 11, my dad had me doing 100 passes against the wall every morning before I went to school.”

Tyler admits his father’s amazing career is a huge source of inspiration as he looks to forge his own path in the professional rugby ranks, albeit in the rival code.

He added: “When I was younger, a lot of people saw him as Martin Offiah but I just saw him as Dad. I just heard the same thing over and over but, as I’ve got older, I’ve been able to take in a lot more information and actually used it.

“That’s definitely helped a lot more in recent times so yes, he’s definitely a huge inspiration.”

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