Few players can emulate the feat of James Rodwell, whose 50th consecutive World Sevens Series tournament was fittingly on one of the game’s biggest stages in Hong Kong in March 2014 when England reached the Cup final.
Head coach Simon Amor said: “For any player to get 50 tournaments is special. To get 50 consecutive tournaments is pretty much unheard of in the game of sevens”. He expanded that sequence to 69, a competition record, in Singapore last April before missing the Paris and London tournaments through injury. James became England Sevens’ most capped player when celebrating his 71st appearance at Cape Town in December in his side’s gold medal triumph. He overtook the record previously held by Ben Gollings and has since taken his appearance total to 79.
Amor added: “James has been outstanding for many seasons for England. He is a real pleasure to have in the team, a great leader for us and an incredibly valued member of the squad.”. James became an important figure for Team GB in the Rio 2016 Olympics, helping the squad to take the silver medal with his aerial skills and combative talents. He also scored two tries in the tournament.
Winning the Emirates Airlines London Sevens in front of a home crowd at Twickenham back in May 2009 was “an amazing feeling” in the words of James, who plays No 8 at 15-a-side but shows adaptability, mobility and handling skills in the abbreviated game.
James scored a try in all five matches in the Hong Kong tournament in March 2011. He has since taken his tally in the Series to 93, including four in the Gold Coast event in October 2013, three in Dubai the following month, two in Las Vegas in January 2014 and three in London four months later. His 50th touchdown was in the 46-0 pool win over Portugal at Scotstoun Stadium in 2013. He also played in the RWC Sevens in Moscow in June 2013 when England finished as runners-up to New Zealand.
In 2010-11, he ran in 12 tries with two against Portugal and Fiji at Dubai that December, one in the George final against New Zealand and a total of nine in the final five tournaments in Wellington, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Adelaide, Twickenham and Murrayfield.
A graduate in Business Commerce at Birmingham University, he began playing when seven at Tring RFC, his local club, and was at Berkhamsted Collegiate School from the age of ten, where he figured at centre and full back and coach Graham Burchnall was his mentor.
It was onward and upward for James, whose England Sevens debut was against the United States at Dubai in 2008. Along the way, John Caves, his university coach and the Moseley team manager, was another guiding influence as James became the club’s U21 player of the year in 2004-05, the players’ player in 2006-07 and supporters’ player in 2008-09.
Representative honours came thick and fast on his rise with Hertfordshire Schools 18 Group, London & South East U18, captaining North Midlands U20 and representing Midlands U20 foreshadowing appearances for English Universities in 2005, England Counties (2006) and England Sevens.
As for role models, Ben Gollings and Lawrence Dallaglio (“I used to love seeing him play at No 8”) are tops for him. James “came of age” when he scored his 21st HSBC Sevens World Series try in the 36-10 pool match victory over Canada at Murrayfield at the end of May 2010.
He relishes watching and playing most sports, especially golf, his sister Sarah has added to the family album by representing England at lacrosse and his favourite ground? It’s Wellington, known as “The Cake Tin”.
Last updated: 24 May 2017