Ex-Raider Joe makes England debut

FORMER Worthing Raiders Rugby Club star Joe Launchbury made his debut for England on Sunday when he came on as a replacement in the 57-26 win over Barbarians at Twickenham.

The match was a non-cap game but everyone at Worthing was delighted to see Launchbury turn out for his country in front of a crowd of 42,269.

The previous day, another former Raider, Joe Marler, had been part of the Harlequins side who had won the Aviva Premiership final with a 30-23 win over Leicester Tigers.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Worthing Raiders chairman David Hinchliffe said: “Obviously, everyone at Worthing was both pleased and proud to see Joe Launchbury in a full England shirt on Sunday.

“There were quite a few people who came in from the Sevens outside to watch and there was a cheer from the bar when he came on. Joe Marler was obviously unavailable after playing in the Aviva final on Saturday, but we hope to see both of them in England shirts in the same side in South Africa this summer.

“Joe Launchbury showed the level of talent he had from the moment he joined the Raiders and Will Green was quick to guide him to Wasps so he could realise his potential. We’ve seen Joe a couple of times this season, as he was able to come and watch the Raiders while recovering from an injury. His return to Premiership form and selection for England, so soon after a lengthy lay-off, amply demonstrate his ability and potential.

“After the World Cup ended in November, I made a small wager with another member here that we would see “the two Joes” play for England in the 2015 World Cup in England. What price two ex-Raiders with World Cup winners medals?

“With four ex-Raiders in the Premiership next season, at least two more in the Championship and one in the Rabo Direct Pro 12, we have a lot to be proud of at Worthing RFC.”