It was an exciting set of finales to the Six Nations Rugby Championships last weekend and Heath’s trio of England internationals - Joe Marler, Billy Twelvetrees and James Chisholm -played key roles on the stage.
James was first up for England Under 20s as thirteen thousand supporters made their way to Brighton and Hove Albion’s Amex Community Stadium for the decisive encounter between the home nation and their French counterparts - the Stadium’s first taste of rugby as it prepares to host two Rugby World Cup games in September.
With all to play for, the teams mined their reserves of energy to put on an ultimately exciting display that went to the wire. Although France were dominant and in the lead for the first half, England stayed in the game and, in the final quarter found their cutting edge to run in two impressive tries for a 24-11 win that sent the crowds home happy and gave England Under 20s the Six Nations Championship. None were more excited or proud than James Chisholm’s family and many friends at Haywards Heath Rugby Club where he began his rugby career aged 5.
James was again the lynch pin of the England effort. He carried strongly in attack and defence, put in some crunching tackles, turned over important ball, controlled the base of a dominant England scrum, took his own line out ball and pinched some of the French ball and showed some deft touches again in clever layoffs to his teammates.
It was no surprise that he was named as Man of the Match - an award he also picked up the previous week against Scotland - and, even more impressively, as Player of the Tournament for his all-round contribution and mature approach to the game. Interviewed after the game he said: “I’m so proud of all the guys. It’s an awesome feeling to win this. We made it hard for ourselves, losing against Wales in that opening game, but we regrouped and came back really well. For me, as a local guy, to come here in front of an amazing crowd and to get the win is pretty special and will live long in the memory.”
England win against France – but miss out on the Championship
I’m so proud of all the guys. It’s an awesome feeling to win thisJames Chisholm
At Twickenham on Saturday evening in the final game of a very tight Six Nations, both Joe Marler and Billy Twelvetrees made telling contributions to England’s enthralling win but, like all England supporters, were disappointed that it wasn’t quite enough to edge the Championship. It was certainly as exciting a finale as most can remember. With Wales setting the bar in a thrilling second half display in Rome, then Ireland overtaking them in Edinburgh, England needed to beat France by 26 points to win the title. Their 55-35 win fell just one converted try short – but it was a game with pace and passion throughout on a day when an unprecedented 221 points were scored across all three games.
In his thirtieth game for his country Joe added to his glowing reputation with good carries and tackles and a strong scrummaging performance, especially so against the always combative French forwards. Billy came off the bench for what is now his characteristic ten minute cameo, showing some nice touches in attack and defence. The Heath Clubhouse was busy as members and visitors watched its former junior players’ contribution as the 6 Nations reached its exciting conclusion on the big screen, while a lucky few got to experience the buzz of the BMW Lounge at Twickenham before and after the Calcutta match thanks to BMW Vines of Gatwick. The 6 Nations may be over for another year but Heath is gearing up for the Rugby World Cup 2015 when the Whitemans Green Clubhouse will be the place to watch both the warm-up internationals for England against Ireland, Scotland and France and then the full tournament schedule starting with the opening England match against Fiji on 18 September. More information can always be found online at www.hhrfc.co.uk .