The Quins player talks Big Game, Barack Obama and bikes


Harlequins back-row James Chisholm

What are your best Big Game memories? 

I’ve actually been to every one, as a fan and then as a player. My best memory is the first one I started against Gloucester; it was a great game. We usually don’t play as well as we should in Big Games, so it becomes a bit of a free-for-all, which is really fun to play in and for the fans to watch.

How much are you looking forward to December’s Big Game, with the men playing Northampton and the women facing Wasps? 

It’s going to be really cool – the more games the better. It’s such an awesome day and is great to watch. Playing at Twickenham as well, for the guys that don’t play international rugby, it’s an amazing place to play. The Premiership final there was incredible, so we’ll see if we can replicate that.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve heard on the pitch? 

That’s such a hard question as so much funny stuff happens. We played at Gloucester one year and the guy who was subbed on at tighthead for them was 18 or 19, so Joe Marler started talking him through how to scrummage.

“When the ref says ‘crouch’ you bend over, when he says ‘bind’ grab my armpit area, then ‘set’ push as hard as you can”!

I was at the back thinking, ‘What is happening?’ Joe could see this kid was nervous and was being heavily sarcastic.

Any nicknames? 


What do they call your brother, Ross? 

Chis as well! It gets confusing. Sometimes they say ‘Big Chis’ but is that who is older or bigger in size?

Who are the jokers in the Harlequins squad? 

Joe Marler is the obvious one. Craig Trenier, who has joined from Ealing, is very funny. And Danny Care is very playful and funny. There are quite a few but they’re the top three.

Any pranks you can tell us about? 

We’re not big on practical jokes. Archie White likes taking your phone and hiding it, or taking a trainer and hiding it, putting it up in the ceiling.

What really annoys you?

I don’t like lazy people and I don’t like hypocrites.

What about phobias? 

I don’t like heights but I wouldn’t say that was a phobia. I don’t like needles. When I had the vaccine, the lady asked if I had any questions. I said, “No, but I don’t like needles.” She said, “You’ll need to lie down because we can’t catch you”! Thinking about it was worse than it was as it was done quickly.

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with? 

I’d like to have Barack Obama in there so I could chew his ear but also George Bush to ask, “Why did you go to the Middle East?” That’s quite heavy…

If you could be one team-mate, who would it be? 

Probably Danny Care. He’s really nice, really fun, everyone likes him, and he’s got loads of money!

The silliest thing you’ve ever bought? 

I’ve bought quite a few silly things. I bought a wand with a light on the end of it, like a Harry Potter wand. I thought it was fun and I could use it as a torch.

If your house was on fire, what’s the one item you’d save? 

The easiest answer would be my phone but I’ll say my push bike. I like cycling and it’s a good bit of kit. I used to cycle to training.

Your three dream dinner party guests? 

Adele – she would bring the house down in the living room. Barack again – he seems so nice. And Chabuddy G from the TV show People Just Do Nothing – he’s a character but I’d want him, not the guy who plays him.

Your guilty pleasure? 

I love pizza. Ham and mushroom. The Vaporetto Pizza van in Farnham does the best one.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject? 

Probably Walt Disney. I think Mulan is my favourite.

Any hidden talents? 

I’m not really good at anything else. I can juggle. I did that once in a bar with some limes and got told off! “Sir, we need to use those.”

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby? 

To be successful. I want to coach, and me and my other brother, Ali, have a business, Choccy Nut Pot. It’s a dessert pot crossed with a protein bar.

This article originally appeared in Rugby World’s December 2021 edition.

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