Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Yarde hoping to be headline news

Marland Yarde moved to England with his parents when he was nine

Marland Yarde will be headline news back in St Lucia after being handed his England debut in Saturday's second Test against Argentina - or at least he will if his aunt, Claudine, has anything to do with it.

"She presents the news in St Lucia so I am sure she will be trying to get me on," said the London Irish wing. "I think the game is on television over there. I know my brother will be watching."

Yarde moved with his parents to England when he was nine and he played football at the QPR academy for two years before moving to Whitgift School, where he discovered rugby. Just seven years on, Yarde has replaced David Strettle to start on the left wing as England look to seal a first ever 2-0 series win over the Pumas in Argentina.

"I am massively grateful for the opportunity I have got and I can't wait to make everyone proud who has brought me to this place. I will play with a lot of pride on the weekend," Yarde said.

"I moved to England when was I was nine. I played cricket and I played football until I was 14, so I was quite a late starter in rugby. I got a scholarship at Whitgift School and they were highly driven on sports and I was able to develop my talents there."

Yarde has been lauded by the London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith as being a better player than Chris Ashton, who has been rested from England's tour, with the potential to win 50 caps.

England coach Stuart Lancaster was impressed by Yarde's attacking contribution to an Exiles side this season. He scored one try and he created one try for England against the Barbarians last month.

"Marland has shown in training and in the games that he is ready for this chance," Lancaster said. "If you look at the stats at the end of the season, and compared all the wingers and back three players, he is right up there in terms of defenders beaten, metres made and line breaks.

"What strikes me about Marland is his work-rate off the ball and his desire to get his hands on the ball. He is not the type of guy who is just going to stand on his wing and wait for the ball to come to him."

Yarde has replaced Strettle and he will be joined in by Bath centre Kyle Eastmond, who will step up from the bench to make his first England start after Billy Twelvetrees was called up by the British and Irish Lions.

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