|Weight||95kg (14st 13lb)|
The third of eleven players to complete a half century of Aviva Premiership tries, Mark Cueto has superimposed league form on the international field and became the thirty fifth England player and fifteenth back to appear in 50 Tests against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin last March.
Mark had started 29 consecutive matches before missing the first two games in the 2011 RWC through a back injury. On his return, he was man of the match after scoring a scintillating hat-trick of tries against Romania in a 12-minute spell during the first half.
His next landmark was becoming the eighth England player to score 20 or more tries when he crossed the France line in the quarter final at Eden Park. A few weeks earlier, his loyalty, durability and not least world class status had earned him a testimonial season with Sale Sharks in 2011-12.
After representing English Universities, England Sevens and A team in the Churchill Cup, he launched his Test career with four tries in three games, including two on his debut against Canada seven years ago.
He ran in three against Italy in 2005 and also equalled a record set by Chris Oti, of London Wasps, in 1991 with tries in eight consecutive Premiership matches.
Amid all his exploits, that include a 2005 British & Irish Lions’ Test appearance, he suffered the disappointment of not being awarded a try in England’s 2007 RWC final defeat by South Africa when his left foot went into touch. Stuart Dickinson, the Television Match Official, ruled out the ‘score’.
Workington-born Mark, who owes his surname to a Spanish grandfather, was educated at St Thomas Moore CHS and went on to obtain a BA in Sport Science at Manchester Metropolitan University. He first played the game when five at Netherhall and switched to football for 12 years before joining Altrincham Kersal.
After a year with the Sale Jets development side, he was promoted to the senior squad and became the Premiership’s leading try-scorer with 13 in 2001-02, his first season after making his debut against Bristol Rugby.
He has since amassed 70 Premiership tries in 153 matches spanning ten seasons. Only Steve Hanley, his former Sharks’ teammate, with 75, has scored more. Mark achieved another distinction last December when being appointed as the Sharks’ captain by Peter Anglesea, the club’s new head coach.
England A also benefited from his try-scoring panache, five coming in ten matches, including a hat-trick in the 78-6 win over Scotland A at Northampton in 2003 before his international selection.
His role as a touchdown creator was to the fore with two volleys, as befits a former left sided midfield footballer that fashioned tries for Delon Armitage against Argentina in June 2009 at Old Trafford, of all places, the home of Manchester United, the club he supports.
100 points – 20T
England: 2004 C, SA, A 2005 W, F, I, It, S, A, NZ, Sam 2006 W, It, S, F, I, SA(1,2) 2007 W, F World Cup - USA, Sam, Tg, SA 2009 It, W, I, F, S, Arg (1,2), A, Arg, NZ 2010 W, It, I, S, F, A(1,2), NZ, A, Sam, SA 2011 W, It, F, S, I, W, W, I World Cup - R, F
Lions: 2005 NZ (3)
Last updated: October 10, 2011