Joe, who is just 22 and has now played 11 times for England, played his early rugby in this area. He was an outstanding schoolboy player while at Christ’s Hospital School and he also played a few games for Barns Green Rugby Club. He was called into the England squad for the first time last year and received his first cap when he came off the bench against Fiji in November. Later that month he started for England for the first time against the mighty South Africans before playing against Australia and then in the historic England victory over the All Blacks at Twickenham. His performances were so good that he was voted the 2012 QBE Player of the Series. Joe stands 6ft 6inches tall and weighs 18stones and can play in the back row or the second row.
As with last year’s race the magnificent Christ’s Hospital School marching band will be playing while all the runners go through the grounds of the school during the race. What could be more uplifting for the runners? The magnificent 100 strong Christ’s Hospital marching band have played at some very prestigious sporting events including Test Matches at Lord’s and like Joe Lauchbury make regular appearances at Twickenham. Joe was a pupil at the school from 2002 to 2009.
Race Director, Vernon Jennings said, “Everyone in the area was thrilled and extremely proud when Joe won his first cap for England. We are delighted that he has agreed to come back to the village to officially start the 2013 Barns Green Half Marathon. Our official charity this year is Chestnut Tree House, the only children’s hospice in Sussex and Joe’s support will help us to raise even more money for our charities and various local clubs and societies”.
Picture caption; Joe Launchbury helps out with training on a return to his old school in January this year.