Wigan Warriors wonderkid Junior Nsemba shares Wembley dream as England ambitions laid out

Drew Darbyshire
Junior Nsemba Wigan Warriors Alamy

Junior Nsemba in action for Wigan Warriors in 2024

If selected, Wigan Warriors starlet Junior Nsemba will play in his first major final at the age of 19 next weekend as he graces the hallowed Wembley turf.

Wigan face local rivals Warrington Wolves in the Challenge Cup final under the famous arch on Saturday, with thousands of fans making the trip down to the big smoke from the north west.

And his family will be beaming with pride in the stands at Wembley following his remarkable rise to the top with his hometown club, with around 20 of his nearest and dearest having secured their tickets for the final.

“Wembley is not a small thing, is it? It’s the first time for me getting there,” Nsemba told Love Rugby League.

“Obviously everything I do right now is for my mum and dad. They are a big part of my life, they’ve done a lot for me so I’m just trying to give back to them really.

“They will be very proud, obviously it’s a big achievement for the team and me, so they’ll be happy to see their son walk out there.”

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Junior Nsemba on Willie Isa: ‘He is like a mentor to me’

Willie Isa Wigan Warriors Alamy
Willie Isa after Wigan Warriors’ World Club Challenge triumph against Penrith Panthers

Nsemba has made 27 appearances for the Warriors since making his first team debut back in 2022 after progressing through the academy ranks.

And 11 of those appearances have come this season, taking his opportunity in the back-row following the unfortunate long-term injury to club stalwart Willie Isa.

Nsemba says he has learned a lot from Isa, both on and off the field, with the latter having made more than 300 career appearances at the highest level.

“Covering Willie’s spot is hard, he’s a very good player so he’s teaching me things,” Nsemba told Love Rugby League.

“Although he’s injured I’ll talk to Willie off the field and ask what I could do better and he gives me his advice so I feel like I’m doing a decent job right now to cover his position.

“Obviously I like to play the same position as Willie so I just talk to him. He is like a mentor to me, he’s always guiding me on what the right things are and what to do.”

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Ambitions to represent England

Nsemba, who is of Cameroonian heritage through his parents, has ambitions to one day represent England, the country where he was born and raised.

England have a test match against France in Toulouse later this month, and whilst he has been tipped as a potential bolter for Shaun Wane’s side, he is simply focused on playing his best with Wigan in clubland for the time being.

The towering back-rower said: “Obviously it would be a big achievement playing for England but I’m just trying to do my job on the pitch right now to show Waney what he is looking for really, so I’m just going to keep trying on the pitch.

“If I don’t get it now, (then) hopefully I’ll get it at some point in the future.”

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