The England Under-18 lock joined the full-time ranks of the Saints Senior Academy this past summer, two years after he was first spotted by Elite Player Development Group manager Ross Stewart at one of the club’s three-day Monarch Rugby Academies at Sudbury RFC.
Although born in Colchester, Onojaife was living in Dubai at the time. But after that three-day camp, and impressing at the subsequent residential course at Stowe School, Onojaife was being invited into the Junior Saints Academy, then back at Stowe School for his sixth form and into the England age group set-up almost immediately.
It has been a meteoric rise for the youngster, but the journey to Franklin’s Gardens started with the desire to find something to do during the summer holidays.
“My mum wanted my brother and I to stay active and out of the house during the summer really,” Onojaife explains. “We went to Stowe and really enjoyed it. The Saints is known across the world and I heard about their camps through a friend who was going to one, so I thought I’d go along to one, too.
“I’d definitely recommend one of the Saints camps. I didn’t go there looking to be spotted or to get a professional contract out of it, it just came about. But it’s a good, fun week, you learn a lot, and you get to meet the professional players and you’ve got nothing to lose!”
Bookings are still available for the October half-term Monarch Rugby Academies at Newmarket RFC, Leighton Buzzard RFC and Franklin’s Gardens, which all run between October 29th and 31st.
Bookings are also now open for a number of Monarch Rugby Academies in 2014, including the three-day and five-day residential camps at Stowe School.
And you can hear about Onojaife’s journey to professional rugby in full in this week’s official Saints podcast, which will be available for free on SoundCloud this coming Friday afternoon.