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Ollie Hassell-Collins claims he'd 'never' turn down Wales – report

By Liam Heagney
England's Ollie Hassell-Collins (Photo by Alex Davidson/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Out-of-favour England winger Ollie Hassell-Collins has declared himself open to a switch to Wales if his Test career doesn’t reignite under Steve Borthwick. The Leicester back debuted in last year’s Guinness Six Nations opener at home to Scotland and he also started the following weekend’s clash versus Italy.

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However, the 25-year-old has since slipped down the pecking order and although named in the wider squad for last Sunday’s England A game against Portugal at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, he wasn’t selected to play – a situation that leaves the door ajar for him to become available for Wales in February 2026 after the completion of a three-year stand-down period where he doesn’t play for England or England A.

Welsh boss Warren Gatland recently name-dropped Hassell-Collins as a potential recruit when he faced questions about the decision of Immanuel Feyi-Waboso to play for England despite being born and raised in Wales. The Exeter player now has two caps and was a try-scorer in last Saturday’s Calcutta Cup loss to Scotland.

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Switching to the Welsh is something Hassell-Collins has admitted would be of interest, telling The Telegraph: “I have seen Gatland’s interview. I have got two caps for England, and obviously I’m English. But if I don’t see anything in the next few years then it’s definitely something that I would consider.

“Wales is still part of who I am. My grandma was Welsh and I still have family over there. It’s still a part of me – and I’d never turn it down – but for now, it’s England for me.

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“I can’t control who he picks,” added Hassell-Collins about not getting a look-in with Borthwick’s England since February last year. “There’s nothing I can do about that and no point dwelling on it. It’s a short career and I want to enjoy it as much as I can.

“We have chatted throughout the season. The main thing he wants to see from me is getting my hands on the ball. There’s only so much I can control in that, but as long as I’m working off my wing, getting connected to people, showing that I’m trying to get on the ball, hopefully he sees that.

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“Then, if I do get the ball, brilliant, but if not, as long as I’m in the right positions to get on the ball, then that’s a good sign as well. But I haven’t been beating myself up about it. I don’t think you can. It’s a short career. Maybe back in the day, I might have, but now it’s all about me. I’m happy going into Leicester every day, and enjoying life.

“I’m at the age where I’m mature enough to understand that I can’t go around beating myself up about missing out on the World Cup or the Six Nations. It’s about getting my head down, getting better, and working on what I need to. And, if it happens, great. If not, I just need to keep trying to get better. I want to win stuff with Leicester.”

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