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England tribute to sevens legend Ben Gollings after 12 years at the top

20 June 2011

  • Ben bows out after 70 tournaments and three Commonwealth Games
  • Ryan: His professionalism set standard for all who played with him

England today paid tribute to captain Ben Gollings at the conclusion of his 12 years at the top of the international sevens game.

The 31 year old's contract runs out this summer at the end of a career that has included 70 tournaments and three Commonwealth Games.

He stands at the top of the HSBC Sevens World Series scoring charts with 2,652 points – more than twice as many as his nearest rival, Fiji’s Waisale Serevi – and only Argentina's Santiago Gomez Cora has scored more tries than the 220 Gollings contributed since his debut at the age of 19.

Ben Gollings in action at last season's Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens

Photo: Getty Images

"The decision not to renew a contract is never taken lightly and while we understand Ben will be disappointed we felt that it was one that needed to be made to move the squad and our game forward over the coming seasons," said England Sevens head coach Ben Ryan.

"It doesn't detract in any way from the terrific service Ben has given England over more than a decade at the highest level. His professionalism has set the standard for all those who have trained and played alongside him.

"Ben was there from Day One in 1999 when the World Sevens Series began and, although he had spells with Newcastle and Quins and overseas, he kept on returning because of his love of the sevens game and the game has a lot of affection for him too.

"He's got a remarkable points scoring record and that will probably stand for a decade or more as a tribute to him. His name is synonymous with sevens and I'm sure he will go on and enjoy an equally successful post-sevens career."

Gollings's tournament highlights include being an integral part of the side that won four consecutive Hong Kong titles, the last in 2006 secured by his final-play try and conversion; winning a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne; clinching tournament wins in Wellington and London in 2009; and securing England’s victory in Dubai in December 2010.

“It is a shame I won’t be able to fulfil my ambition of cracking the 3,000 points barrier or becoming all-time top try scorer, but I’ve been fortunate to enjoy as much as I have," said Gollings.

"It was a bit of a shock not to be given a new contract and it will take a few months to get my head around no longer being part of the England Sevens squad, but I understand their decision to look to younger players to take them forward and I wish the team and the boys the best of luck and have every faith in them that they can win the 2013 Rugby Sevens World Cup in Moscow.”

In the 15-a-side game Gollings represented England at Under 16, Under 18, Students and A team levels as well as appearing the England side that beat the New Zealand Barbarians at Twickenham in December 2003.

His club career included spells in the Aviva Premiership with Harlequins, Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors, as well as at Bournemouth and Doncaster Knights, and overseas with Sunnybank, Tasman, Gold Coast Breakers and Toyota Shokki.