Welwyn club proud of Worsley's British and Irish Lions call-up

PUBLISHED: 15:00 25 April 2009 | UPDATED: 22:01 26 October 2009

Former Welwyn colt Joe Worsley in his British and Irish Lions shirt

Former Welwyn colt Joe Worsley in his British and Irish Lions shirt

WELWYN Rugby Club chairman Bob Swindell has paid tribute to former player Joe Worsley after he was called up into the British and Irish Lions squad. The London Wasps flanker will join up with the team for the summer tour to South Africa after a fine domes

*****THIS PICTURE IS RIGHTS FREE FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT UNTIL 1ST MAY 2009*****
British and Irish Lions Squad, Tour To South Africa 2009
Paul O'Connell, Ireland Lock Captain
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland/BLL

WELWYN Rugby Club chairman Bob Swindell has paid tribute to former player Joe Worsley after he was called up into the British and Irish Lions squad.

The London Wasps flanker will join up with the team for the summer tour to South Africa after a fine domestic season in the Guinness Premiership.

Worsley played for the Hobbs Way club as a colt and joined Wasps as a 16-year-old.

Swindell, who can recall Worsley's time at Welwyn, said: "We are very pleased and very proud that Joe has been called up to represent the British and Irish Lions.

"He will do a great job and has had a tremendous season."

Worsley is held in high regard by those who saw him perform during his early playing days in Hertfordshire.

"Joe is certainly fondly remembered at the club, and everyone wants him to do very well," said Swindell.

"He was in one of the most successful Colts sides we have ever had at Welwyn.

"Everyone knew just how talented a player he was."

Worsley is one of eight English players in the 37-man party to take on the Springboks.

Head coach Ian McGeechan announced the touring squad in London with Munster and Ireland second row Paul O'Connell selected as captain.

The 31-year-old Worsley also enjoyed a superb Six Nations campaign with England, and will be battling for places in the Lions starting XV with the Irish back row trio of David Wallace, Stephen Ferris and Alan Quinlan and Welshman Martyn Williams.

The former Welwyn colt has 72 caps for England and was notably part of the triumphant 2003 World Cup winning squad in Australia.

Following that success, Worsley was awarded an MBE by the Queen.

Worsley also featured in the 2007 World Cup final against South Africa in France.

He becomes the first-ever former Welwyn player to represent the British and Irish Lions.

However, there are a few other individuals who have gone on to compete at International level.

John Wackett played hooker for England against Ireland and Wales in 1959.

In more recent years, Steve Bates who played scrum-half for Welwyn in the late 1970s went on to play for Wasps.

He was then named on the replacements' bench for England for several seasons before finally winning his only international cap against Romania in 1989 in Bucharest.

Bates is currently director of rugby at Newcastle Falcons and had a spell as coach of England Saxons last year.

The other England internationals in the British and Irish Lions squad are Riki Flutey, scrum-half Harry Ellis, winger Ugo Monye, lock Simon Shaw, hooker Lee Mears and props Andrew Sheridan and Phil Vickery.

The first test match against South Africa takes place in Durban on Saturday, June 20 - six days after Worsley's 32nd birthday.


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