The remarkable rugby league story of Wigan’s Brazilian forward Roman Silva

Ramon Silva has a story like no other in Super League.

Wigan’s recent front row signing was born in Sao Paulo, moved to London aged just two, and until his mid-teens focused his sporting attention on martial arts.

Dad Ricardo is a renowned MMA coach who has trained the likes of UFC lightweight Jimmy Manuwa and Bellator fighter Nathan Rose.

Ramon looked set to follow in his father’s footsteps until a friend invited him to try rugby league – and just four years later he joined the Warriors out of London Broncos’ academy.

Silva explained: “I didn’t start rugby until I was about 16. I always did martial arts – my dad is a black belt in Jiu-jitsu and has travelled all around the world coaching.

“In terms of coaching I’ve had the best on that side. I grew up with it, and it’s helped me with dedication and being sensible when I started rugby. I did wrestling, Jiu-jitsu, MMA and Thai boxing.

“The wrestling has helped here because some of the guys at Wigan are huge, absolutely massive. It does help me and in the matches as well with my tackling technique, holding people down on the floor.”

Dad Ricardo knew nothing of Super League when his son’s career path changed, but that has recently been amended. Silva said: “He didn’t know how to play rugby and had never even watched it, now he’s a complete Wigan fan.

“They came up to see me train for the first time and he bought loads of stuff to wear back at home. He’s a proper fan now.

“My dad has been my hero during my life. He’s taught me everything I know in terms of the martial arts side, and made me who I am today.

“My mum as well, but from a sports side my dad always helped with everything. Little hints, nutrition – he’s been a great idol for me.”

Silva faces a signifiant challenge to force his way into the first team picture in a competitive Wigan squad in 2022, but his rapid rise to date suggests he shouldn’t be underestimated.

He added: “Since I’ve played, Wigan has been one of the clubs I’ve wanted to go to – the reputation behind it is unbelievable.

“I want to play as many games as I can for the first team, develop as much as I can and actually be a key player rather than just taking part.”

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