3 days until the start of the Rugby World Cup 2015, and we’ve reached the final instalment of my series looking back on the careers of our youth stars who placed second in the surrogate 2011 competition [see here for first, second and third articles]. We’ve seen the likes of England stars George Ford and Owen Farrell, sevens hero Alex Grey, and those whose careers have sadly been plagued by injury.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW: England’s 2011 Junior World Championship Squad
Today, we finish by looking at the final backs: Elliot Daly, Ryan Mills, Jonathan Joseph, Andy Short, Christian Wade and Marland Yarde
Elliot Daly (London Wasps)
Centre / Wing / Full Back
Daly’s professional debut came at Wasps in the 2011-12 season, and he was awarded the Academy Player of the Year before he made the full step up to the senior squad at the end of the season. During the 2012-13 season, Daly had the joint highest number of appearances for the club, gaining 30 caps despite his tender age. His try against Northampton earned him both a nomination for the Aviva Premiership Try of the Season Award, as well as Wasps’ own Try of the Season Award. He also took over kicking duties due to his long range, and converted eight shots at goals in addition to his seven tries. The season also saw his first Senior international call up, gaining two caps for the England Saxons, whilst at the end of the season his Young Player of the Season award helped in his call up to the Barbarians. The following season saw him plagued by injury and he missed most of the pre-season, although 2015 brought his first start with the senior England team to play the Barbarians in May. To date, Daly has 112 caps for Wasps and has scored 23 tries. He was initially selected for Lancaster’s 50-man world cup squad but was released before the training camp in Denver.
Ryan Mills (Gloucester)
Centre / Fly Half
Ryan debuted at Gloucester during the 2011-11 season, and stayed at the club until the end of the 2013-14 season, when it was announced that he would be moving to Worcester after four years with the cherry and whites. During that time, he scored 35 points in 26 games, despite being ravaged by injury including both the knee injury that hampered his early career, and the foot injury that put him out from November 2014 until late into 2015. At Sixways, his first season saw him play in both the number 10 and number 12 jerseys, and he made 20 appearances as part of the side that were, once again, promoted to the Aviva Premiership.
Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)
Alongside his Rugby World Championship success, 2011 was a successful year in the Premiership for Joseph, scoring five tries across 13 appearances at the Madjeski Stadium. In 2012, he was nominated for the Land Rover Discovery of the Season award. He left London Irish at the end of the 2012-13 season with a new contract at Bath, having made 44 appearances and scored 13 tries. This season, he scored an impressive 8 tries in 17 games for his home club. Internationally, he made his senior debut as one of the 13 uncapped players for the 2012 mid-year tour of South Africa. Despite an injury preventing him from playing in the 2013 Six Nations, he started both test matches during the tour to Argentina later that year. He played the 2015 Six Nations, picking up a man of the match award against Italy, and in May it was announced that he had won the Rugby Players Association ‘Player’s Player of the Year’ and ‘England Player of the Year’. He later was selected for Lancaster’s World Cup Squad and starts this weekend’s opener against Fiji to earn his thirteenth cap.
Andy Short (Worcester Warriors)
Short debuted for Worcester in 2010, and spent the 2011-12 season on loan to Cornish Pirates. On return to Worcester, however, he suffered a broken hand in the JP Morgan Sevens which put him out for the start of the season. After 30 appearances and nine tries at Sixways, in 2013, Short signed a contract with Bristol and left Worcester at the end of the season. This was, however, short lived, as he resigned for Worcester in early 2015. Since Worcester were Championship rivals, Bristol coach Andy Robinson loaned him to London Irish for the remainder of the season. Short says he is “delighted to be returning home” as he looks to rejoin the Premiership this season.
Christian Wade (London Wasps)
Wade’s Premiership debut came in January 2011 for London Wasps, and his season ended with four caps and one try. Despite an injury in the following season putting him out for three months, he still finished 2012 as the second highest try scorer in the Premiership, with nine tries in 15 matches, and was selected for England’s tour in South Africa. At the end of the next season, Wade was awarded both the Players’ Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year accolades, whilst he, once again, finished as the Premiership’s joint leading try scorer with 13, as well as a further 5 in the European Challenge Cup. He was rewarded with a call up to the England senior squad and the British and Irish Lions Squad. 2013/14 was less successful despite an opening 5 tries in 10 appearances, as an injury against London Irish ended his season in November. His return came against Saracens where he scored two tries, and went on to score 12 more in the next 21 games and was later named in the BT Sport Team of the Year. He, however, remains in the Saxons Squad and was not called up to the Elite Playing Squad, appearing this year only against the Irish Wolfhounds.
Marland Yarde (London Irish)
Yarde started his career at Irish, and performed 47 times for the Exiles before he turned down a contract extension to stay at the Madjeski, and signed for Harlequins in January 2014, for whom he now has 19 caps. He did, however, finish his spell at Irish on a high, scoring 20 points in his final two games including a hat trick against Gloucester. He made his international senior debut in 2013 against Argentina where he scored two tries in the record 51-26 victory. He retained his place for the first Autumn International that year but injury prevented him from playing in the second two games. A torn hip tendon ruled him out of the 2014 Six Nations, but he recovered in time to tour to New Zealand in the Summer. This year, he was selected for the initial World Cup squad but was dropped alongside fellow RWC 2011 graduate Matt Kvesic at the beginning of August. He holds 7 England caps to date.
So, as you settle down to watch the event we’ve all been waiting for this weekend, keep an eye out for our silver medalists. With all of them younger than 25, we will hopefully see the Junior World Championship 2011 graduates wearing the rose for many years to come.