Thu, 10 Jan 2019
Ollie Hassell-Collins Pic: Andy Taylor
FORMER St Bartholomew student Ollie Hassell-Collins is both nervous and excited for the upcoming under-20s Six Nations Championships.
The 19-year-old, who plays for London Irish, was selected to represent England for both the Six Nations and the World Rugby under-20 Championship in Argentina.
Hassell-Collins is one of 32 players to have made the elite squadfor their Six Nations opener against Ireland on February 1.
And, although the youngster is surprised with his inclusion, he is ready for the challenge.
“I was a bit shocked at first,” he said. “But after a while, it hit me and it’s exciting and now I can’t wait to join the camp.
“I haven’t played for England since representing the under-18s, so I do feel some nerves in that sense, but when I’m on the pitch I’ll relish every opportunity I get.”
With this being Hassell-Collins’ first taste of a Six Nations tournament, he believes it’s a perfect step towards making the senior squad in the future.
“I feel this will help me massively in my career,” said the 19-year-old. “It’s always good to get different views on the game and I think this does help us get on the senior radar.
“There have been a few boys who have been involved with both the under-20s and the senior squad.
“My aim for the Six Nations is to keep fit and keep being available for selection and we’ve just got to take one game at a time and keep improving as a team.”
Hassell-Collins capped a memorable year in rugby by making his debut and scoring a try for Irish in their 38-29 win against Cornish Pirates in October.
Now he has set his sights on a strong campaign for England, with family and friends expected to show support throughout.
“Their support is massive to me – my parents come to all my games and my friends have been to a few home games as well.
“They’re the people I play for and I want to try and make them proud.”