Probyn made an extraordinary journey from the heart of London’s East End, to the front row of an epoch-making England rugby team, with whom he won a record 37th cap at prop just short of his 37th birthday.
He attended The London Nautical School were he was friends with Phil Hutchines who introduced him to Ilford Wanderers. Jeff played a season at Colts level before moving to Old Albanians and then to Richmond and Wasps.
He was selected in England’s squad for the 1987 World Cup, but Probyn did not make his international debut until 1988 at the age of 31 against France. He quickly established himself as the best tight head prop in Britain.
He became an anchor figure in the highly successful period which brought England two Grand Slams and a place in the 1991 World Cup Final
His uncompromising approach to the art of scrummaging brought him many admirers – and critics.
Controversially left out of the 1993 Lions squad which toured New Zealand, Probyn toured South Africa with a World XV in 1989 and was a member of the Wasps side which won the English Courage league the following season in 1990
Along with Stuart Barnes, Wade Dooley, Mike Teague, Peter Winterbottom and Jon Webb, Probyn wore the England shirt for the last time in a 17-3 defeat by Ireland at Lansdowne Road in 1993. In total he won 37 caps for England and scored 3 tries.