TOP ENGLAND and club rugby star Joe Marler officially opened a new rugby clothing and equipment department at an Uckfield sports shop on Saturday (July 28.)
Joe chatted to visitors, posed for pictures and signed autographs. Plenty of rugby chat went on particularly as the opening is timed to coincide with the imminent start of the new 2012 season.
The upstairs floor at the Final Score Sports Shop will be completely dedicated to rugby from last weekend onwards and famous brands include Gilbert, Kooga, Canterbury, Opro, Optimum and Nike.
Joe, 22 is from Heathfield. He attended Maynards Green Primary School and then studied at Heathfield Community College. He started playing for the Eastbourne Sharks when he was just 11.
Joe captained England for the U18 side against Wales four years ago, stepped up for his England Saxons’ debut against Italy A in January 2011 and 17 months later won his first two England caps in the starting side against South Africa in Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.
He joined the Harlequins’ Academy in June 2008, spent the next season on loan to Worthing, has figured on a similar basis for Esher and first played for the Quins’ A team against London Wasps. He has made 60 senior appearances for Harlequins, including 41 in the Premiership with four tries.
Joe’s advances in the game not only feature playing for Sussex Under 14-18 but also representing London and South East in 2006.
Moving on he played for England U18 in Argentina and in the IRB Junior World Championship in Japan three years ago.
He appeared in all ten competitive matches played by England U20 in 2010 scoring two tries in the 41-14 win over Wales at Kingsholm and one in the IRB Junior World Championship third place play off when England lost 27-22 to South Africa at Rosario that June.
Caoching influences on his game have been Will Stadler, his first mentor followed by Tony Diprose and Ceri Jones, the former Harlequins’ loose head prop.
Joe’s father Paul, who played for Hellingly, introduced him to rugby and to the front row where he ahas appeared throughout his career.
His outside interests include cinema and golf.