It’s amazing how fast life can change.
Take Callum Sirker for example. One moment he’s finishing his a-levels and having a kick about in the park with his mates. Throw forward a few months and he’s playing international rugby on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and scoring tries for England.
“12 months ago I was at school, messing about on a football field,” says Sirker “All of sudden the ball is in my hands and I’m scoring on the World Series. It’s a moment I will never forget.”
Sirker made his international debut for England 7s in Hong Kong. Appearances in Singapore, Paris and London would follow while on the European circuit this summer he also competed in Russia, Poland, and France. Throw in joining the England U20 squad for the World Championships in Georgia and it’s far cry from Bushy Park where Sirker first picked up a rugby ball."It’s all changed so quickly."
“It’s all changed so quickly,” he said.
“This time last year I had hardly any sevens experience, I was playing schools sevens. The biggest tournament I had played at was Rosslyn Park 7s and then this time last year Sevens in the City.”
Sirker’s father Amit Sirker played for London Welsh in the 1980s and he admits: “He has been the biggest influence on my career and is my number one supporter.”
Hammersmith-born Sirker began playing when five at Teddington RFC and attended Twickenham Academy and Harrow School.
A specialist wing, he shared in victories for England U16 over Scotland and Wales in April 2014 and last November was a member of the England Sevens Academy side that won the Singapore Cricket Club tournament and the triumphant Royals team in the International Invitational tournament in Dubai.
Honour and pride
His world series debut came in Hong Kong where he was originally playing in the 10s tournament before injuries resulted in him receiving a phone call from head coach Simon Amor.
“I was hugely honoured and proud, that was the first emotion,” he said.
“I was also thankful to Simon for giving me the opportunity to show what I can do and the belief he has in me. To get the last-minute call was amazing.
“The day when I got to run out wearing an England 7s shirt for the first time was the proudest moment. The atmosphere was booming and it was just amazing to be able to run out with the team. The team were so welcoming, gave me great support and advice. I think they recognised it was a big moment for me.”
He would score his first England tries at the Singapore 7s a few days later, a moment he will never forget.
“I was honoured to get off the bench and help the team out,” he added. “I scored two tries and again that was an amazing moment.”
Home is where the heart is
So what is his defining memory from the past 12 months? Having lived in Twickenham for most of his life, the answer is simple: the HSBC London 7s.
“To run out in front of our home fans in a stadium I have known since I was a kid was just amazing. It was incredible.”
After a whirlwind 12 months Sirker has earned a break. Before that though is one final assignment – the Mitsubishi Motors Exeter 7s.
It is the final leg of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series and another chance for Sirker to play in front of home support.
“We’ve got a young squad but we’re excited to play in front of our home fans and can’t wait to put on a good show for them,” he adds.
So what does the next 12 months hold for Sirker?
“I want to stay fit and healthy and enjoy my rugby,” he said. “I need to keep working hard and continue to learn off the best like Dan Norton and Tom Bowen.”
It’s amazing how fast life can change…just ask Callum Sirker.