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Where there’s a Will there’s a way as Joseph signs for Quins and receives England call-up

Will Joseph has had a very good couple of weeks indeed.

The 20-year-old went from being without a club following the suspension of embattled London Irish to signing for two-time Premiership champions Harlequins and receiving a call-up to England head coach Steve Borthwick’s 38-man World Cup preparation squad.

Joseph, who first played rugby at Newbury, came through the ranks at London Irish after joining them when he was 13 but became one of a host of players forced to become a free agent when the Exiles became the third top division side to fall foul of financial failings at the end of rugby’s most tumultuous season to date.

Will Joseph in training with England. Picture from the RFU Collection via Getty Images
Will Joseph in training with England. Picture from the RFU Collection via Getty Images

The talented centre made his Premiership and European debuts in the 2020/21 season and won the first of two England caps as a replacement in England’s win over Australia in Brisbane in July of last year.

Joseph, whose older brother Jonathan played 54 times for England between 2012 and 2020, is one of three London Irish players to have put pen to paper on a deal at The Stoop, alongside Zimbabwe-born prop Lovejoy Chawatama and exciting back row forward Chandler Cunningham-South.

“I’m excited to be joining Harlequins and appreciate how quickly they’ve made me feel so welcome,” Joseph said.

“It’s obviously been a tough couple of months for everyone involved with London Irish, with an ending that none of us ever expected.

“I just wanted to thank all the fans, coaches and staff for their time and help in my career so far and I hope to see some of them at The Stoop next season.

“Meeting the team at Quins and hearing about their plans and how I can hopefully fit in was exciting.

“I’m looking forward to the new challenge ahead.

“I’ve already worked with some of the coaches and have a lot of good friends at the club, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in as soon as I can.”

Billy Millard, director of rugby, added: “Will is a highly talented athlete who has progressed significantly during his time with London Irish.

“He is a powerful centre who displays confidence in attack and defence and works extremely hard to improve certain areas of his game.

“We’re pleased to be able to support Will with this opportunity and look forward to welcoming him to Quins.”

Ollie Hassell-Collins, who also started out at Newbury and made his name at London Irish, signed for Premiership champions Leicester Tigers at the end of the season.

The 24-year-old, who made his international debut in Borthwick’s first game in charge against Scotland, was included in the squad but was forced to withdraw.

The World Cup takes place in France and begins in September, with England, who have been drawn in Pool D, kicking off against Argentina in Marseille before taking on Japan, Chile and Samoa.

Borthwick will name his 33-man squad for the tournament on August 7, with both Joseph and Hassell-Collins believed to be relative outsiders to make the cut.

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