Tearing a hamstring twice and fracturing a scaphoid, all in the same season, has not deterred Oliver Hassell-Collins. Just the opposite – uncapped at any previous international level, he won a place in the England U18 squad for the tour of South Africa in August 2017 and scored a try in the 52-22 win over the hosts in only his second match.
He made his England U20s debut against Wales in the 2019 Six Nations.
Reading born, Oliver began playing when seven at Newbury RFC, joined London Irish at U16 level and made his debut for the club in a U17 match against Bath. He was educated at St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury and St Paul’s Catholic College in Sunbury, captained the Newbury U15 and U16 teams and became a U18 Premiership winner with the Irish.
It all began when his dad Neil Collins, a former Newbury, Harlequins and England Counties’ player, took Oliver to his local club. James Lightoot-Brown helped to give him a good grounding in the game and his heroes included Jonny Wilkinson and Ronaldo.
His breakthrough came last year when he did some pre-season training with the London Irish first team squad and his most unusual experience featured a match for Newbury against the Brazil U19 side in Rio, which is also his holiday hotspot. He also enjoys playing football and basketball, supports Chelsea and his best rugby friends are Alex Sparks, of Newbury, Hungerford’s Callum Hambrecht and Millfield School’s Connor Burns. Oliver’s sister Polly plays lacrosse and netball and is also involved in athletics.
His music tastes stretch to Grime/Rap, AJ Tracey and J Huss and his favourite film is The Fighter. A chilled, organised athletic guy, he reckons that his top non-rugby achievement is overcoming a fear of roller coasters.
2019: Wal, Ita, Sco
5 points – 1T
2017 SA Tour: W, SA
Last updated: 21 March 2019