Haywards Heath RFC may be struggling in London South 1 but it must be doing something right since it continues to produce home-grown rugby talent time after time.
Two former Heath Colts proudly wore England shirts last weekend and three do so in this weekend’s international action.
Harlequins prop, Joe Marler won his sixteenth cap in the massive Six Nations opener at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday against the mercurial French. He was joined at the first whistle by another former Heath Colts, team-mate, Gloucester’s Billy Twelvetrees, also a member of the summer British and Irish Lions expedition to Australia and winning his ninth England cap. Sadly, England’s hopes were dashed in the final minutes by a late French try in a 26-24 defeat.
And three former Heath Colts with a big future:
Luke Wallace started for England Saxons against Ireland Wolfhounds in last Saturday’s clash at Kingsholm, Gloucester. He played the full game but, in wet and heavy conditions, couldn’t turn the tide in a narrow 8-14 defeat. Luke made again played the full game in his second start for the Saxons on Friday night against Scotland A in Glasgow – a 16-16 draw thanks to a late penalty from the home side. Luke has impressed in his appearances for Quins this season where he shares the flanker berths with England’s captain, Chris Robshaw.
Last Friday night in Lisbon, England Students took on the senior Portugal side, ranked 22nd in the Rugby World Cup rankings. Wing Jake Henry, yet another ex-Heath Colt, was prominent in the Students’ convincing 16-30 win, scoring England’s first two tries. The second was a cracker in which he broke through his opposite number and sprinted the length of the field to score. Jake also played a senior season at Heath in his year out before heading for Cardiff Metropolitan University and Cardiff Rugby Club.
18 year old James Chisholm - also Harlequins and last season’s England U18 captain - who, like Jake Henry, began his Heath rugby at the tender age of six, started in his debut for England U20s against France in Draguignan, between Cannes and Toulon, on Friday night. The first of this season’s U20 Six Nations encounters ended in a narrow 21-15 defeat for the red rose team.
Club Chairman, Mark Newey said: ‘We’re delighted by the progress of our quintet. They and other ex Heath youngsters playing in the higher levels of the game like Perry Parker at Edinburgh, Ollie Tomasczwiek at Newcastle Falcons and Ben Broster at Biarritz - not to mention recent retiree, former Bristol and England forward Roy Winters - are great role models for our young players. There are more in the pipeline as Haywards Heath Rugby Cub nurtures its young players to take their place at every level of the game from the highest reaches to more sociable, but still enjoyable, fields.’