Sevens sensation Rodwell is on his way to Glasgow for a shot at Commonwealth glory

James Rodwell will represent the England 7s team at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Picture (c) Matthew Impey
James Rodwell will represent the England 7s team at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Picture (c) Matthew Impey

Old Berkhamstedian James Rodwell has been selected for the England Rugby Sevens team that will compete at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this month.

The squad, announced by Commonwealth Games England, includes eight players who will make their Commonwealth Games debuts, while Rodwell is one of four players who competed in the 2010 Delhi Games.

Rodwell was delighted to have been selected for the team again and is looking forward to adding another Commonwealth Games to his England Rugby Sevens achievements.

He is the country’s most capped forward of all time in Rugby Sevens and is fourth in the list of overall caps.

Earlier this year, Rodwell received a standing ovation in Hong Kong as he led out his team to play in his 50th consecutive World Sevens Series tournament – a very rare achievement.

At the announcement of the Commonwealth team line-up, Rodwell took time out to discuss his career and offer tips for success to the outgoing Berkhamsted head boy, and captain of the first XV rugby team, Alex Fage.

“To be successful, you need to be dedicated and work hard in order to achieve your best performance,” said Rodwell.

“Whilst not being the most successful player at school, I continued to try and train hard before it all fell into place during an U16 match at Chesham Fields when I had a change of mindset.

“It was that moment when I fell in love with the game and continued to improve through training at university and beyond. All of which has led to experiences such as the selection for the Commonwealth team today.”

Berkhamsted School principal Mark Steed and Graham Burchnall, the school rugby coach who mentored Rodwell during his years at school, also attended the Commonwealth team announcement.

Graham, in addition to his roles as a geography teacher and head of house, is also responsible for organising the successful Berkhamsted Schools Sevens tournament held in March each year.

Remembering that all-important moment on Chesham Road Fields, Graham said: “During a practice session young Rodwell put in an unexpectedly robust tackle and this event was the turning point for him.

“It certainly gave him so much confidence but it crucially gave him the realisation that he had potential for the game.”

The Rugby Sevens competition takes place at the Ibrox Stadium over the weekend of July 26-27.

England will feature in Pool D and will play against Sri Lanka (1.34pm), Uganda (6.24pm) and Australia (9.48pm) on day one, with coverage live on the BBC.