Man of the match award for England’s James Chisholm

James Chisholm
James Chisholm

Former Heath Colt James Chisholm maintained his outstanding form for England Under 20s on Friday evening at Darlington Mowden Park RFC in front of a big crowd and the SKY TV cameras.

Starting again at number 8 and playing the full 80 minutes, he was the most impressive player in a decisive win against Scotland, a view confirmed by Sky’s commentator, former Scotland international Andy Nichol, supported by match pundits - British Lion Will Greenwood and England Women’s World Cup winner, Maggie Alphonsi - and further endorsed when he received Man of the Match for this important 6 Nations fixture.

James was everywhere as he spear-headed England’s first half assault on the invaders from north of the border.

His control at the base of an advancing scrum was exemplary and rewarded with a number 8’s classic touchdown from a five metre scrum for England’s third and final try shortly before half time. James took his own line out ball and helped put the Scots under pressure on theirs.

He was strong in defence, driving the ball away from his own line and made significant gains both in the short, hard yards and in some searing breaks and surging support play. His offloads (and a nicely-judged chip ahead) showed a deft lightness of touch that created space for his support players demonstrating his heavyweight presence can be lightened when required by the rugby unfolding on the pitch.

James is a young man with a great future in the game. His growing experience with Harlequins - and his mentoring by former England and Lions icon Richard Hill and Quins and England’s Nick Easter - was clearly reflected in his impact on the game where he was often ’a man amongst boys’.

In Sky’s post-match interview, James paid tribute to the hard work of his team mates and his coaches.

Scotland came back from a 26-6 half time deficit to fight a rear guard action as England looked likely to rack up a high score, but confining them to a single try owed much to James’s hard work.

In Sky’s post-match interview, James paid tribute to the hard work of his team mates and his coaches.

He emphasised how much he’s looking forward to England U20s final Six Nations game – the Championship decider against France at the Amex Stadium in Brighton on Friday evening March 20th, KO 19.55. It’s on Sky but over 10,000 fans have already bought their tickets, including many from the Haywards Heath RFC Mini and Junior sections where James started his rugby as a five-year old alongside brothers Ross (also a professional at Quins) and Ali (with Esher in National 1).

From Brighton this Friday, it will be on to the Junior World Championship in Italy in the Spring where James will be hoping to repeat last year’s Championship-winning achievement. His composure and maturity on and off the field makes him a credit to his parents, Sussex schools and HHRFC as a striking role model for young players everywhere – but especially at Heath.


On Sunday Quins professional and ex-Heath mini and junior Ross Chisholm visited Heath during the West Sussex Mini Festival sponsored by Nuffield Health to witness hundreds of young players from Under 7 to Under 12 take to the pitches showing off their developing rugby skills. The competition between five West Sussex Clubs – Haywards Heath, Hove, Horsham, Shoreham, Crawley - and two age groups from Guernsey was intense and produced some high quality match ups throughout the day. Ross had the opportunity to meet the next generation of rugby talent – an experience that will inspire many of those present at Whitemans Green.