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Billy Twelvetrees and Joe Marler head the Haywards Heath talent factory

Joe MarlerHaywards Heath may be languishing in the sixth tier of English rugby but it hasn’t stopped the London 1 South side from producing home-grown rugby talent destined for the very top.

No fewer than five of their old boys were in action for England over the last fortnight, with former Heath Colts team-mates Joe Marler and Billy Twelvetrees leading the way into the senior set-up just seven years after helping Heath become the top Colts outfit in Sussex.

Four more former Heath Colts also look to have a big futures. Quins flanker Luke Wallace has stepped up to the England Saxons; centre Jake Henry played for England Students in their 30-16 win over Portugal; 18-year-old back rower James Chisholm made his debut for England U20s on Friday night while his older brother, Ross, has been part of the Quins squad for two seasons, although he is currently on the sidelines with an ACL injury.

A month ago Chisholm Jnr became the youngest-ever player to appear for Quins in the Premiership and is the latest to have graduated from the Heath set-up through the Quins junior system to the first-team.

Heath club secretary Alan Jenkins told The Rugby Paper: “It is sensational to have so many of our boys going on to play for their country.

“Joe and Billy both joined at Colts level because at the time we were arguably the best feeder club in Sussex.

“They came here knowing we are an aspirational club and it would be a good stepping stone to bigger things. We have seven kids going through the Harlequins system at the moment so although we might not be the force we once were we are attracting a lot of talented boys.

“We used to be ahead of Worthing as the top club in Sussex but recently they have leapfrogged us.

“But we are still attracting a lot of kids and have about 450 going through the various age-groups at the moment.”

Club chairman, Mark Newey added:  ‘We’re delighted by the progress of our quintet.  Other ex-Heath youngsters playing in the higher levels include Perry Parker at Edinburgh, Ollie Tomasczwiek at Newcastle Falcons and Ben Broster at Biarritz – plus recent retiree, former Bristol and England forward Roy Winters.

“They are all great role models for our young players.”

MATTHEW EMERY

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