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HomeLatest NewsSix Nations 2023: Chessum brothers 'dreaming' of playing together for England

Six Nations 2023: Chessum brothers ‘dreaming’ of playing together for England

Lewis and Ollie Chessum at England training
Lewis (left) joined Ollie at the England senior team’s training camp
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 25 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, S4C, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website & app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app.

Standing at 6ft 7in, England lock Ollie Chessum doesn’t look up to many people – but when his 6ft 9in younger brother Lewis is around, he has little choice.

The siblings have followed similar rugby paths about two years apart, but are yet to play together. The fact that could happen for the first time in an England shirt is all the more remarkable.

Ollie, 22, is a Premiership winner with Leicester Tigers and has seven caps for his country, making a big impression in England’s opening Six Nations matches.

Lewis, meanwhile, is captain of the England Under-20 side and the second row, who turns 20 on Monday, is eager to follow in his brother’s footsteps.

The prospect of them lining up in the same pack for the first time is tantalisingly close.

“We came close to doing it at school but it never happened. It would be some day for the family,” said Lewis, who is part of Leicester’s senior academy squad.

“To do it in a Tigers shirt would be one thing, but to do it in an England shirt would be incredible,” added Ollie.

Such an outcome lies in the hands of a man the brothers have worked under at club level – Steve Borthwick, who made the brothers race each other at the end of training sessions when he was Leicester head coach.

And as England prepared for their Six Nations match with Wales on Saturday, a race was back on the cards as the new national head coach brought in the England Under-20s to train against the senior side.

With bragging rights up for grabs, Ollie knew there was “no way I could let Lewis win”.

Lewis seemed happy enough with that – describing his running style as like that of a giraffe.

He admitted the whole training session was “surreal” as he worked alongside the biggest names in the English game. Ollie, meanwhile, said: “Having him here in an England kit and both of us charging around the place together has been pretty cool.”

Principality challenge excites Ollie

Ollie Chessum scores a try for England in their Six Nations win over Italy
Ollie scored England’s second try in their 31-14 Six Nations win over Italy

England’s trip to Cardiff on Saturday will be a first for Ollie, who has never been to the Principality Stadium as a player or fan.

The threat of strike action from Welsh players continues to hang over the build-up, but for Ollie his focus remains on the game.

“I was sat chatting to Kyle Sinckler the other day and he said it’s a proper coliseum, an incredible place to play rugby,” said Ollie.

“It’s going to be a challenge to go down there and one I’m really looking forward to.”

Challenge is certainly an accurate description for an England side who have not won a Six Nations game at the Principality since 2017.

Farrell turnover goes viral

Ollie’s performances for England have attracted praise, though most of the interest on social media centred on him giving captain Owen Farrell a helping handexternal-link against Italy.

“I’ve been tagged into it a few times on Twitter,” he joked, as we discussed him turning the England skipper on to his front as he grappled with Italy’s Sebastian Negri.

“I’m sure ‘Faz’ is more than capable of fighting his own battles, but I thought I’d just give him a helping hand.

“The game hadn’t stopped so I looked up and thought I should probably get back to doing my job so I left them to it, but I thought I’d tip the scales back in his favour.”

Lewis Chessum (second right) talks to his team after England beat Scotland in the Under-20 Six Nations
Lewis led England to victory over Scotland in the Under-20 Six Nations

Lewis watched the game from home, “screaming for 80 minutes at the TV”.

He had a different perspective on his brother’s famous assist, joking: “I noticed you play with one sock up and one sock down.”

Jokes aside, what is clear is the admiration he has for his older brother’s achievements.

“Having him as a brother, someone who is in my position ahead of me, is massive,” said Lewis. “He’s a great role model.

“To be able to watch him, follow him and hopefully do the things he does one day is what I aim to achieve.”

So England could yet have Chessum and Chessum in the second row in the future, and the production line could continue for a while yet.

Dylan, their 15-year-old youngest brother, has also taken up the sport. He is a fly-half – for now.

Watch England play Wales in the Under-20 Six Nations live on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport app from 19:15 GMT on Friday.

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