Chisholm's health push ahead of Harlequins Sevens showdown

Champions: James Chisholm led England to Junior World Championship glory in June        Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Champions: James Chisholm led England to Junior World Championship glory in June Hannah Peters/Getty Images

First published in Sport Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

For up and coming rugby stars, the Premiership Sevens are a shop window to impress watching coaches, but for Harlequins number eight, he will be pleased just to keep his food down.

The 18-year-old is part the of the Quins squad set to face Saracens, Northampton Saints and London Wasps tonight (Friday) at Franklin’s Gardens in the season’s showpiece curtain raiser.

And Chisholm, who captained England to the IRB Junior World Championship in June, does not like to talk about individual stand-out performances, rather the team ethic.

However, first of all, he needs to get fit – or at least healthy.

“The Sevens is a chance to have a bit of fun, throw the ball around and get back into competitive rugby, so everyone is looking forward to it,” he said.

“I am excited about it, although I am feeling quite unfit because I’ve been recovering from a bout of food poisoning.

”I’ve missed a bit of training, so maybe it’s not the best time to be going up against the likes of Saracens and Wasps, but I am doing some last minute work ahead of the Sevens and feeling much better.”

Chisholm, who has signed dual registration forms with Championship outfit London Scottish this season, made just three appearances for Quins in last season’s LV= Cup, but it is with the England set up where he has excelled.

As skipper of the U18s side he lifted the FIRA-AER Cup in March last year, beating hosts France 27-22 in the final.

Then, earlier his year, he led the U20s to a 21-20 victory over South Africa in New Zealand to lift the junior world title – but he is quick to point out, his ethos is not all about him, be it internationally or in the Sevens.

He said: “We want to play as a team, so there is no trying to stand out as an individual to get noticed above anyone else.

“You have to play to your key areas for the team – I am going to try and be physical, put in some good hits and clearing rucks. Little things like that, it is pretty dull.

“But we’ve seen at the Commonwealth Games it is so important to keep the ball, and you have got to do what you’re good at.

“If you’re Charlie Walker that’s beating defenders if it’s me it might catch and pass and smacking into things.”

Despite admitting he is no sevens specialist, Chisholm would like to put his name in the hat for the new format come 2016.

He said: “It’s exciting times for sevens, it has been brilliant in the Commonwealth Games and now it will be included in the Olympics.

“I have joked with the lads that I would be going to Rio for 2016. I’d love to get the call up for the England Sevens this year, next year, whenever.

“Playing for your country no matter what the sport is a great achievement, everyone tries to do it – I am hopeful of course, but it is not the be all and end all.

“I am not a sevens specialist. I don’t expect anything to come of the sevens, but it would be a fantastic honour to play.”

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