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Kings College Students Enjoy An Inspirational Talk By Harlequins Rugby Professional

Published on: 28 Nov, 2016
Updated on: 29 Nov, 2016

Students from Guildford senior school Kings College enjoyed meeting one of rugby club Harlequins’ players, who told them all about being a professional sportsman and what motivates him.

Harlequins rugby club's Cameron Holenstein signs a ball for Alex and Chel

Harlequins rugby club’s Cameron Holenstein signs a ball for Alex and Chelsea.

South African-born Cameron Holenstein, 21, is a member of the Harlequins squad and has signed a two-year contract with the London-based club that plays in the Aviva Premiership. The players train at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford.

He began his sporting career as a javelin thrower, but owing to an injury which impeded his throwing, he turned his attention to rugby by joining Pretoria Harlequins.

In 2014 he played for the Sharks U19 Currie Cup team, where his path crossed with current Harlequin Tim Swiel. Moving to French side Pau in 2015, he helped them remain in the top tier of French rugby. He is one of the youngest members of the Harlequins squad and the position he plays is prop. He has yet to make his first-team debut, and is currently recovering from an injury he sustained during a training session.

His determination to be a top sportsman came at an early age. Despite the setback he had when he was throwing the javelin he told the Kings College students he knew that he was determined to do his own thing and not follow “everyone else.”

Some of the students pictured with Cameron Holenstein. To his left is the school's head of PE Harrison May. On the far right is the head teacher Alastair McKenzie.

Some of the students who took part in Q&A sessions with Cameron Holenstein standing at the back. To the left is the school’s head of PE, Harrison May. On the far right is the head teacher Alastair McKenzie.

He said: “Once you commit to doing something, you should not worry about the hard work that will follow.”

Of growing up in South Africa, he said that rugby there is a culture. “It doesn’t matter where you come from, it is a way of life.”

He spoke about his current injury (Achilles tendon) and how he is making the best of getting back to full fitness. He said: “Everyday I wake up and ask myself what I want to achieve. The injury is in the past, it doesn’t matter any more.”

The students, who were clearly engrossed by his talk, also asked him plenty of questions: including training techniques, diet, what motivates him, and what has been his proudest achievement so far.

Cameron said he was delighted to be signed by Harlequins, this being its 150th anniversary year, and his proudest achievement will be when he runs out onto the pitch to make his debut.

He also said the occasion when he was allowed to actually hold the famous Webb Ellis Cup, the trophy presented to the winners of the Rugby Union World Cup, was a special moment.

Cameron Holenstein talking to the students while head dog PE Harrison May, looks on.

Cameron Holenstein talking to the students while head of PE Harrison May, looks on.

Kings College’s head of PE, Harrison May, could be described as a rugby fanatic. He has re-introduced rugby to the school in Park Barn and is coaching students in the art of the game. He has set up matches against other local schools who are also new to the game. Away from his teaching at Kings College he is a coach with the Surrey Rugby association and coaches the first eleven at Chipstead Rugby Football Club.

Harrison said: “The plan at Kings College is for Harlequins players to provide our students with a valuable insight into the world of professional sport, inspire them and provide community rugby coaching. We plan on the players assisting within English lessons, speaking to our gifted and talented students, not to mention working with our potential England rugby players of tomorrow.”

At the end of the session, Cameron, who also led a coaching session with some of the students, gave the following feedback to the school. He said: “It was a fantastic experience! I learnt just as much from the students. There was great passion and an understanding of the game. The kids are eager to grow and will do so as the time progresses. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and thank the team at Kings College for allowing me this opportunity to engage with fellow rugby players.”

Cameron Holenstein - a determined and inspirational young sportsman.

Cameron Holenstein – a determined and inspirational young sportsman.

Harrison May added: “It was a great privilege to have Cameron come to the school. It’s such a benefit for the kids having someone so inspirational coming in to talk about his life as a professional sportsman. The students really responded well to it.

“Hopefully a number of them will follow Cameron’s fantastic lead. We look forward to many more similar opportunities as Cameron sounded incredibly keen to do the whole thing again.”

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