Horstmann call pays off
June 12, 2006

KAI HORSTMANN is ready to repay Jon Callard a third time for giving him an England chance when he thought he would be playing the tables in Las Vegas.

The Worcester Warriors No 8 was set for a trip to Sin City when he received a call to replace the injured James Forrester in the England Saxons squad for the Barclays Churchill Cup.

A wasted return ticket to Nevada later – as well as a delayed Majorcan holiday with girlfriend Caroline – and Horstmann is emerging as one of the finds of this England Saxons tour.

“I was due to go to Las Vegas with some mates for five days. I wasn’t going to be involved in a tour and have some down time away from rugby. It was bit hectic once the call came. I couldn’t get re-imbursed on the tickets but that's nothing - to get picked for this is what you play the game for,” said Horstmann, born to a South African mother with English parentage and a German father.

“I did England Sevens for a couple of seasons but this is my first major tour. This is a great opportunity, a platform to try and impress and I don’t want to let it slip away.”

Now in Edmonton after impressive displays against Scotland A in defeat and in Saturday’s 41-11 victory over Canada in Toronto, Horstmann is in line for a third successive start at No 8 in Saturday’s Barclays Churchill Cup Plate final against Ireland A at Commonwealth Stadium (12pm local/7pm UK).

England Saxons Head Coach Callard names his team tomorrow morning and Horstman added: “You can be on top but can get cut down pretty sharpish so I’m determined not to let that happen. Every game you have to raise the bar a bit more and step up.

“If you fall off the page for a second then things start spiralling downhill and against Canada I was just trying to keep hold of the jersey and put a good performance in. The last thing you want to do is come away from training thinking ‘what if’ because you can’t go through rugby like that.

“It’s a funny old game – your opportunities come at bizarre moments – and you have to make sure that when they do come along you take them with both hands.”

Callard has been impressed with the 24-year-old, who boarded at Wellington College in Berkshire and has stayed in England every since, saying: “Considering he wasn’t coming originally, Kai has really put his hand up and I’m pleased with what he has done both on and off the field.”