April 1, 2023 9.00 am This story is over 14 months old

Lincolnshire’s England rugby star Ollie Chessum talks Twickenham debut and injury recovery

“I’m ready to attack the rehab”

England rugby star Ollie Chessum is “ready to attack his rehab” after suffering a broken fibula and ankle during the Six Nations, but will never forget his “special” Twickenham debut.

Before the injury, the 6ft7in Second Row had impressed during the tournament for England which included his Twickenham debut against Scotland in February 2023.

Although that match ended in a 29-23 defeat for England, it is one Ollie won’t forget.

He went on to score his first England try against Italy, but was later ruled out of England’s final Six Nations match against Ireland after suffering an ankle problem in training.

Ollie Chessum just before scoring his first try for England. | Photo: Parkes Fine Art Photography

Recalling his Twickenham debut, Chessum, who has nine caps for England, told The Lincolnite: “It was very special. My first memory is getting off the bus and walking through the gates and seeing all my family there.

“It goes by very quickly. It was a disappointing result, but it was a special day and a day to remember.

“I’d played five games for England before, and all had been away in Australia or away fixtures in the Six Nations.

“So I hadn’t stood and sung the national anthem to 80,000 people singing it back to you – it was very special.

“The Six Nations was a good opportunity for me to develop. I missed out on the Autumn Internationals through an injury, so I was chomping at the bit to get back involved.

“Then Steve (Borthwick) gave me the call and I was obviously very pleased.

“I wanted to make sure I put in good performances and I think for the most part I was able to do that.”

Ollie Chessum (left) celebrating the try scorer by his Leicester Tigers teammate Jack van Poortvliet (right) against Sale. | Photo: Leicester Tigers

Ollie has been spending time at home with his family in Lincolnshire during his injury recovery, but is due to go back to to his club Leicester Tigers on Monday, April 3.

He said: “Obviously I was devastated to miss out on such a big game. I’ve not played in Dublin or against Ireland as an England player.

“I’ve had the surgery done and I’m ready to attack the rehab.

“We’ve got a bit of a job on our hands and it’s another challenge for me. I’ve got something to prove and it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.”

When asked about the upcoming World Cup in September, Ollie is unsure of the specific timelines of the injury recovery, and is keeping his focus purely on his rehabilitation programme.

“I’m raring to go and determined to get back,” he added. “I’m with my mates every minute of every day so it has been strange to be on my own for a week, and I can’t wait to get back involved.”

Brothers Ollie and Lewis Chessum. | Photo: Leicester Tigers

Ollie has also felt a big sense of pride this year in his brother Lewis, who captained England’s Under-20s in their Six Nations campaign.

Ollie said: “It was a really proud moment for me and for the family. He’s worked incredibly hard.

“He had a pretty torrid time of it, 16-18, and got a lot of injuries, but his work ethic got him a spot in the academy and to where he is now.

“Lewis being captain is special and such a huge honour for him. He should be massively proud.”

The Chessum brothers continue to impress and could one day line up together for Leicester Tigers, and England.

Ollie added: “We’re so focused on the games, but the idea of playing together in the future is a very exciting prospect.”

Lincolnshire-born Ollie Chessum in action for Leicester Tigers against Bath. | Photo: Leicester Tigers

Whilst Ollie’s rugby rise continues, he never forgets his rugby roots and playing for Carre’s Grammar School in Sleaford and for Kesteven Rugby Club.

He said: “That’s where I started. It was school that pushed me to get involved in rugby and if it wasn’t for them and Kesteven, I wouldn’t have had other opportunities.”

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