Sevens fairytale for England new boy Marchon
It is the stuff of fairytales. This weekend Ollie Marchon will make a remarkable England Sevens debut in Dubai after his way battling back from injury via the invitational circuit.
The 24 year-old was a spectator in the stands when England lifted the Cup titles there in both 2010 and 2011, and did not dare to dream that he could ever line up as part of the team.
Indeed, six months ago he was more likely to be playing against them, as he also qualifies to play for Portugal, one of England's Dubai Pool C opponents, through his father.
But this week he puts his career as a personal trainer and semi-pro player for National League One side Old Albanians on hold to pull on an England shirt, six years after a knee injury ended his hopes of a senior contract at Saracens and threatened to force him out of the game for good.
“After the injury I went travelling, went to university and for a little while kind of resented rugby and didn’t take it too seriously,” said Marchon.
“Last summer was my first of trying to play serious Sevens. A teammate of mine asked the coach of the Wailers, who play on the invitation circuit, to have a look at me. I played the first tournament, got invited back, played on the Super Sevens Series this summer and it all took off from there.
Portugal or England
“I might have played for Portugal – my dad’s Portuguese by nationality, my mum’s from Nuneaton – then after the last tournament of the summer [England Sevens assistant coach] Russell Earnshaw approached me about training with England and that’s how it came about.
“I’m over the moon about it. I didn’t envisage it happening and I’m hoping I take the opportunity.”
Marchon’s call-up is one of four changes England have made for Dubai. Half back James Lightfoot-Brown, 19, is another debutant, while playmaker Dan Bibby returns and former captain Ollie Phillips is back after a three-year lay-off.
England face South Africa and Samoa in their other pool games on Friday before Saturday’s knock-out stages in the second round of this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series.
The third round takes place the following weekend at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, and England will host the season-ending tournament at Twickenham in May.
England Sevens: Dan Bibby, Chris Brightwell, James Lightfoot-Brown, Ollie Marchon (Old Albanians), Tom Mitchell, Dan Norton, Ollie Phillips, Tom Powell, James Rodwell, Rob Vickerman (captain), Marcus Watson, Jeff Williams
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