Higher representative honours have beckoned Geoff Parling since he appeared for England U16, U18, U19 and U21. At the age of 26, he played 30 matches, including his 80-minute contribution when Leicester Tigers beat Saracens 33-27 in the Premiership final of 2009-10, his debut season at Welford Road.
More kudos has followed with 13 consecutive full caps stretching from RBS 6 Nations Championship match against Scotland at Murrayfield in February 2012 to the corresponding game at Twickenham this year that England also won. Not only that, he scored a jubilant maiden Test try in that match.
His initial start had been on his third appearance, against Wales at Twickenham and he shared in the 24-22 win over France at Stade de France, Paris and the 30-9 triumph in the Ireland game last March.
Geoff has the ability to figure at lock or blind side flanker. After captaining the Falcons’ development side in 2004-05 he became a regular first team choice the following season and won the club’s player of the year award on the way towards a place in the England squad that toured Australia and New Zealand in the summer of 2010.
He had been runner up to Juan Martin Fernández Lobbe, then of Sale Sharks, in the Guinness Premiership’s Gatorade Performance of the Season category in 2008-09.
Two years earlier, he had featured prominently at blind side and reached 116 appearances for the Falcons, with 80 starts and 36 matches off the bench. After signing for Leicester in July 2009, Geoff made his debut against his old club and had played 63 times for the Tigers by early February this year.
A consistent performer, he has exerted a major influence on the Tigers’ line out and was rewarded with England Saxons’ selection for the matches against Ireland A and Italy A in 2010 before his senior tour accolade.