- Most capped England Sevens forward now fourth on all-time list
- Rodwell wants to finish season on a high in Glasgow and London
England's James Rodwell goes into his 33rd consecutive HSBC Sevens World Series tournament intent on finishing the season on a high.
The 27-year-old forward from Birmingham is now fourth on the list of England’s most experienced sevens campaigners, having overtaken Richard Haughton (31) last month in Tokyo with three more backs – Rob Thirlby (35), Simon Amor (43) and Ben Gollings (70) – ahead of him on the all-time rankings.
England’s campaign has had its peaks and troughs this season, with a title triumph in Dubai followed by agonising exits at the hands of New Zealand in Wellington and Las Vegas, when wins would have put them on top of the table in the nine-event series.
So the former Worcester Warriors and Moseley forward heads to the Glasgow Sevens eager for England to lay down a marker for next season and prove they will be title contenders in the HSBC Sevens World Series as well as for the World Cup Sevens tournament in Moscow next summer.
Photo: Getty Images
“We’ve had an okay year. It’s not what we set out to do because we had the goal of winning the series but a couple of close games have got in the way,” said Rodwell.
“In all the tournaments bar one we’ve been knocked out by a score or less which shows how close the games are and how close we could have been this season but unfortunately we’re now sitting in fourth place.
“We want to finish the season on a high to show we haven’t set that unrealistic a target of winning the series. We can show we’re there or thereabouts so we can get some momentum going into next season.
“That starts in Glasgow and then we go into London and the Marriott London Sevens where it’ll be incredible to finish on a high at our home venue.”
Rodwell's first sighting in England colours was in Edinburgh in 2008 but he didn't get onto the pitch until the Dubai tournament later that year. Since then he has appeared in all bar a handful of around 150 games England have played in that time – all the more remarkable given his position as a forward who is England’s lineout and restart specialist.
“He’s our most-capped forward of alltime and that’s a testament to his professionalism and the way he’s kept himself fit and in form for so long,” said England Sevens Head Coach Ben Ryan. “He’s only in his mid-20s too so there’s more to come too.”
Photo: Getty Images
Winning the London Sevens in 2009 ranks as Rodwell’s career highlight – he scored a try in the final as England snatched an improbable 31-26 extra-time victory.
"It was just an incredible feeling," he said. "The lap after the final must have taken an hour and I couldn’t believe how passionate the support was. We won on the last play when Micky Young got over the line and it was just incredible.
"All the tournaments have got their highs. Probably up there is Dubai for the last two years when we’ve won and for me picking up the Player of the Tournament was pretty incredible. The trophy was pretty heavy and bigger than the one for winning the title. There are also some big lows in this game and that’s what makes it such an exciting sport.
"That win in 2009 in London really kick-started the tournament at Twickenham. The crowd has almost doubled in three years and that's partly because of the excitement of how we’re playing and the belief that we can go out and win tournaments."
You can buy tickets for the Marriott London Sevens via RFU.com, with weekend tickets from £30, with single day tickets from £18 and kids tickets from £5 each day.