Former North Midlands number eight James Rodwell will make history in Singapore this weekend when he plays in a record 69th consecutive Sevens tournament for England.
Rodwell played for Birmingham University and Moseley before he became a full-time sevens player and will break South African Frankie Horne’s record of 68 consecutive World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments this weekend.
“I don’t know how many more consecutive (tournaments) I’ve got in me but I’d happily play every single minute, of every single game,” said England captain Rodwell. “Hopefully the record is one that will stand for a very long time.”
There have been plenty of highs and lows over the past few years. Rodwell remembers series wins in London and Dubai – where he was also named player of the tournament.
However, it was his 50th consecutive tournament, which came in Hong Kong that particularly stands out.
“My parents were there and my father presented the whole team with their jerseys for that tournament,” he said. “It was a special moment for me and a real honour for my father who I know absolutely loved it.
“A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to keep me healthy, nutrition for example, and I’ve been really lucky with injuries over the years,” he explains.
“The medical staff have been incredible keeping me together during tournaments and getting me ready for the following one.”
Rodwell has just signed a new one-year contract with England and firmly on the horizon are the 2016 Rio Games which will see sevens rugby make its Olympic debut.
He was one of many proud Brits that were caught up in Olympic fever when London hosted the Games four years ago and is determined to be involved in Brazil.
“I managed to get to the boxing, the taekwondo and also the road cycling,” he said. “I watched a lot more on the TV as well as it was great how the whole nation got behind the teams. It was such a fantastic success.
“It’ll be the first time sevens rugby appears in the Olympics and I’ve got the chance to be part of a GB team that will perform on a global stage – it’s a boyhood dream.
“When I started the Olympics was not even on the horizon or a prospect, when it got announced it was still four or five years away and I did not know whether I’d still have the legs for it, but I’m feeling as fit as I ever have done.”