World Cup Winner Ben Cohen MBE has announced that on Saturday December 3 he will be taking to the field at Twickenham one last time for the Heroes Rugby Challenge. The game, which will see a Northern Hemisphere XV line up against an all-star Southern Hemisphere XV, aims to raise substantial funds for Help for Heroes, the charity that provides practical support for wounded servicemen and women.
Cohen, who retired from professional rugby in May 2011, started his career with Northampton Saints in 1996, where he played for 11 years before brief stints in France, representing Brive and later Sale Sharks. During his playing career Cohen amassed 57 caps for England, becoming the second highest try scorer in England’s history. In the 2002-03 season, Cohen was part of the England team that remained unbeaten throughout the entire Southern Hemisphere tour, picking up a Rugby World Cup winners medal in the process. Since retiring, Cohen has taken on the position of chairman for The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, the world’s first foundation which aims to combat homophobia and bullying.
Lining up alongside Cohen will be a host of players selected from the northern and southern hemisphere professional game and the best players from the Armed Forces. Cohen’s team mates will include fellow ex England internationals Will Greenwood and Danny Grewcock and French hero Serge Betsen. His southern hemisphere opponents feature Rugby World Cup 2011 winner Adam Thomson, former Springbok AJ Venter and Australian legends Joe Roff and Phil Waugh.
Ben Cohen commenting on his one-of return to the pitch:
“I can’t wait to step out onto the Twickenham pitch one more time, I have some amazing memories of playing there and this is surely going to be another one. To be part of the Heroes Rugby Challenge and the Northern Hemisphere team is a real privilege; with so many big names playing it is going to be a great occasion for a very worthwhile cause.”
“The aim is to pack out Twickenham and in order to achieve this, we really need the public to get behind the game and show their support for the brave servicemen and women working in areas of conflict. Buying a ticket and encouraging their friends and family to do the same is all it takes.”
This year’s fixture, which will mark the tenth anniversary of Britain’s Armed Forces Operations in Afghanistan looks set to be even bigger than the first Heroes Rugby Challenge in 2008 when over 52,000 spectators helped raise £1.46m for Help for Heroes. The aim of the Heroes Rugby Challenge is to pack out Twickenham Stadium on December 3rd and raise more than £1 million for Help for Heroes.
Heroes Rugby Challenge supported by J.P.Morgan, Saturday 3 December 2011 at Twickenham Stadium, kicks off at 1630. Ticket prices start at £30 for adults, £10 for under 16’s, and are available through Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.co.uk or by calling 0844 847 2492. For more info visit: www.heroesrugby.org.uk