- 34-year-old to retire at the end of the season
- Holds records for all-time and most consecutive appearances
- Rodwell's career in pictures here
The most capped rugby sevens player of all time James Rodwell will retire from professional rugby at the end of the 2018/19 season.
In January this year Rodwell broke the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series appearance record by playing his 90th tournament in Hamilton, overtaking New Zealand’s DJ Forbes who had featured in 89 by the time he had retired.
Rodwell became England Sevens’ most capped player when ran out for the 71st time at the Cape Town Sevens in December 2016 where his team defeated South Africa in the Cup final to win gold.
At the 2014 Hong Kong Sevens, Rodwell had reached 50 consecutive World Series appearances and he went on to set the record number of consecutive appearances of 69 two years later at the 2016 Singapore Sevens.
He was a pivotal member of the Team GB squad for the Rio 2016 Olympics where rugby sevens made its Olympic debut, scoring two tries to help his side take home the silver medal.
As well as featuring in the Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Rodwell was part of England's bronze medal success at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 where they defeated South Africa.
After making his first Rugby World Cup Sevens appearance for England in Dubai in 2009, Rodwell also represented his country at the Moscow Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2013 where England were defeated by New Zealand in the final. Last year ,he played in his last World Cup in San Francisco where England won silver after losing out to New Zealand again.
Commenting on his retirement at the end of the season, Rodwell said: “It’s been an amazing journey from when I first started playing sevens – I would never have imagined that I’d pull on an England jersey this many times. The pleasure that I still get from representing my country is incredible and it’s still a huge honour to wear the England shirt.
“The game of sevens has grown so much in the 12 years that I have been involved. It began with part-time players coming together for tournaments and now has players on fully-professional contracts and is about to feature in the Olympics for the second time – I’m very proud to have been a part of that.
“As well as my family there are lot of people that I have to thank for my career over the years – going all the way back to my school, university and Moseley coaches who believed in me, before the likes of Ben Ryan, Russell Earnshaw and Simon Amor who have all given me so much support within the England Sevens programme. The level of detail that Simon Amor puts into getting players into the right place both physically and mentally has played such a huge part in me being able to have played for such a long time.
“The real memories come from all the players that I have been fortunate enough to play with and against throughout my career and I have forged some friendships that will last a lifetime. There is no better feeling than running out onto the pitch with some of your closest friends to some of the most passionate fans in rugby from all around the world.”
Head of England Sevens Simon Amor said: “I have been so fortunate to have worked with James for almost seven years and it’s been a pleasure to coach someone who’s not only such a good person but who's so knowledgeable about the game.
“We’re obviously very disappointed that he is retiring but it’s completely understandable when you look at everything he has achieved – reaching 91 tournaments is an unbelievable accomplishment and is testament to the phenomenal athlete that he is.
“James always brings a certain level of reassurance to the people around him – if you put him on the field you know exactly what he’s going to deliver for the team. He’s probably one of the most consistent players I’ve ever worked with.
“He is an incredibly committed and passionate person who has always put the game of sevens at the very heart of his thinking at all times and we will miss him very much as a player within this squad.”
Rodwell’s rugby career started at the age of seven at Tring RFC and at Berkahamsted Collegiate School from the age of 10. He then went on to play for the U19s at Moseley Rugby Club where he played at county level for the Midlands before going on to be selected for Birmingham University’s first team.
His England Sevens debut came in 2008 when he ran out against the United States at the Dubai Sevens, and he was later offered a professional contract with England in 2010 ahead of the Delhi Commonwealth Games.