|Weight||114kg (17st 13lb)|
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 followed with 17 consecutive full caps from the RBS 6 Nations Championship match against Scotland at Murrayfield in February 2012 to the Wales game in Cardiff in March last year. He also scored a jubilant maiden try in the Scotland game at Twickenham the previous month and then underlined his considerable value to the side in the 12-6 win over Ireland in Dublin.
He was the leading line-out ball winner with five takes in the next match against France and the joint top tackler, with 17, alongside Chris Robshaw and Tom Wood against Wales in the final game of the 2013 tournament.
His initial start had been on his third appearance, against Wales at Twickenham in 2012 and he shared in the 24-22 win over France at Stade de France, Paris and the 30-9 triumph in the Ireland game.
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 was 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 featured prominently at blind side and reached 116 appearances for the Falcons, with 80 starts and 36 matches off the bench. Since signing for Leicester in July 2009, Geoff had played 75 times for the Tigers by early January this year, despite his recent absence through a shoulder injury sustained against the All Blacks in November.
Last summer he embarked on his first British & Irish Lions tour of Australia and promptly played off the bench in the opening Test at Brisbane that produced a 23-21 triumph. He started the second Test and was in the run-on side that overpowered the Wallabies 41-16 in the final match at Sydney. Geoff was also given the accolade of leading the side in the 35-0 victory over the Melbourne Rebels.
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.
5 points – 1T
2012 S(R), It(R), W, F, I, SA (1,2,3), Fj, A, SA, NZ 2013 S, I, F, It, W, Arg(R), NZ(R)
Lions: 2013 A (1R, 2, 3)
Last updated: January 15, 2014