Despite being a keen footballer, prop Tom Nicholson-Watton chose rugby after impressing at both Guiseley Rangers and Stanningley. Signed up to the Rhinos scholarship in 2018, the prop went on to captain the captain the Under-16s in 2019, playing five games and scoring two tries in his final season before he stepped up to the Academy. Scholarship head coach Mark Butterill commented on the prop signing for Chev Walker’s side, saying: “Tom is a natural leader. He is very skilful with the ball in hand and carries the ball strongly.”
On stepping up to the Academy as part of the club’s largest signing cohorts ever, the prop has been a regular for Chev Walker’s team. Starting on the bench for his first two matches in 2020, he then made his first start against Bradford at Emerald Headingley before the Covid lockdown. Coming back in 2021, he continued alongside Joe Hird in Walker’s starting thirteen, scoring a try against London in a 54-0 win, and also played in the defeat to Castleford and win over Newcastle.
Nicholson-Watton has also represented both his country and county. While in the Under-16s, he was one of five players that pulled on an England shirt against Wales and scored a try in the 38-16 win. In 2021, he was part of a seven player cohort from Leeds that earned a place in Danny Wilson’s Yorkshire Academy squad.