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'Can't wait to kick on': England pick Joseph signs Irish contract

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Alex Davidson/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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New England squad call up Will Joseph has signed a new contract at London Irish, ending speculation that he would look to progress his burgeoning career elsewhere in the Gallagher Premiership. The Exiles last month lost Phil Cokanasiga, another coveted up and coming talent, to Leicester for next season, a departure that mirrored the historical decisions of other academy graduates who believed their talent is better served elsewhere.

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A long list of London Irish players have left the club in the past and gone on to become England internationals elsewhere, most notably the likes of Anthony Watson, Joe Cokanasiga and also Jonathan Joseph, the older brother of the 19-year-old Will.

Despite only making ten appearances so far as a London Irish first-team player, Joseph was chosen by England boss Eddie Jones in this week’s 35-strong Test squad for a three-day camp in London ahead of the June 19 Australian tour warm-up fixture versus the Barbarians at Twickenham.

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That good news has now been added to by the teenager agreeing to an unspecified length, long-term deal with London Irish. A club statement read: “London Irish is proud to announce that Will Joseph has signed a long-term deal with the club.

“The versatile back has pledged his commitment to the Exiles this week after a successful second season involved in the London Irish first team. “Will Joseph is one of a crop of young stars who have staked their place amongst a plethora of talent at Irish this year.

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“He scored his first two tries for the club this season, broadcasting his searing pace in the EPCR Challenge Cup round of 16 against Castres Olympique and then again when taking on Leicester Tigers in the Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final.

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“Having been capped for England at U18 level, Joseph additionally made his debut with the England U20s in March during their Six Nations campaign, lining up against Ireland U20s and France U20s. Joseph has been within the London Irish set-up since the age of 13, representing Newbury Blues and the county of Berkshire in his youth.”

London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney said: “We’re delighted to have Will signed on with us here at London Irish for the foreseeable future. He has been impressive in his cameos this season and last and we are excited to see him grow further. He has a real desire to improve and work hard, which is something that you can’t coach. We look forward to helping Will develop over the years.”

Joseph added: “This is a hugely proud moment for me and my family, and I am grateful to London Irish for giving me this opportunity. My teammates have helped me bed into the system over the course of the last two seasons and Declan Kidney and the coaches have helped me further my game to another level. I can’t wait to kick on with Irish.”

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