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Ben Cohen
Personal information
Full name Ben Christopher Cohen MBE
Date of birth September 14, 1978 (1978-09-14) (age 31)
Place of birth Northampton, England
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight 16 st 3 lb (103 kg)
Nickname(s) Big Ben, Air Ben, Benji
Relatives George Cohen
Club information
Position(s) Wing, Outside Centre
Current club Sale Sharks
Youth clubs
Years Club
Northampton Old Scouts RFC
Senior clubs*
Years Club Apps (points)
1996-2007
2007-2009
2009-
Northampton Saints
Brive
Sale Sharks
146 (320)
16 (25)
Representative teams
2000-06 England 57 (155)

* Professional club appearances and points
counted for domestic first grade only.

Ben Cohen MBE (born 14 September 1978 in Northampton), is an England rugby union international.

Cohen spent the bulk of his professional career with Northampton Saints, although he now plays for Sale Sharks in the Guinness Premiership competition in England

Contents

Background

Cohen was educated at Kingsthorpe Upper School, Northampton. This was not a rugby playing school and at age 12 he first started playing with Northampton Old Scouts RFC

Though his surname is typically Jewish, Cohen only has distant Jewish ancestry. “My family’s not Jewish,” he said in an interview on his official website, “but a few generations back they used to be. I think it was my great grandfather that married a non-Jewish girl and broke with tradition.” [1] Indeed Ben has mentioned that circumcision died out in his family long ago.

In November 2000, Cohen's father Peter Cohen, brother of English World Cup winning soccer player George Cohen, was killed in an incident at the Eternity nightclub in Northampton which Peter Cohen managed. He died a month after the assault, from a blood clot in his brain. Three men were found guilty of violent conduct.

Ben Cohen is married, with two children. [1]

Northampton

When he was 17 he joined Northampton Saints and made his first team debut against Treorchy in the 1996/97 season, following which his name was rarely left off the team sheet. This was until, after refusing to play for the club after being overlooked for the role of club captain (in favour of Bruce Reihana), he was released from contract by Saints in September 2007 by mutual consent. Cohen had long been linked with a move away from the club. [2 ] [3 ] [4 ]

Brive

Cohen signed a deal with Brive who play in the Top 14 competition in France. Fellow 2003 World Cup-winning and Northampton Saints team-mate Steve Thompson is also at the club. [5 ] He has signed a contract until 2009. [6 ] Cohen's move to the Limousin based club comes after Cohen had stated "I won't be moving house." [6 ]

Sale Sharks

In March 2009, Sale Sharks announced the capture of Cohen from Brive. Director of rugby Kingsley Jones described the signing as a "coup", and said that he hoped Cohen's arrival at Edgeley Park could revitalise his international ambitions. "I have been chasing his signature for weeks and am delighted to announce that he has now put pen to paper," he said. "He is still young enough to play for England again." [2]. Cohen himself said "I am confident that Sale has the players, coaches, management and support that will help me stake a claim to an international return next season" [3]. Cohen's return to England bucks a recent trend of English playes crossing the English channel to play their trade in the Top 14. In this regard, Cohen's return has been welcomed in many quarters.

Representative career

Cohen is the 10th-highest point scorer in England rugby history and third behind Rory Underwood and Will Greenwood in the list of all time England try scorers.

In February 2000, Cohen made his England debut against Ireland in the inaugural Six Nations Championship, scoring two tries. In June 2001, he joined the Lions tour to Australia, and although he did not figure in the Tests series he did score twice in the midweek match against New South Wales Country Cockatoos at Coffs Harbour.

During the 2002–03 season he played in all of England's matches, scoring against the All Blacks and putting in a try-saving tackle on Ben Blair, he scored twice against the Australians at Twickenham. He also scored against Australia in June 2003 as England won by 25-14, to complete their southern hemisphere tour unbeaten. In England's successful World Cup campaign he started in all but one of England's matches.

In the 2004 Six Nations Cohen was named man of the match against Wales, partly for two striking tries. He was a replacement in two of England's 2004 Autumn internationals.

Cohen initially endured a difficult time after helping England lift the World Cup, admitting that he had lost his appetite for the game and he didn't feature in the 2005 Six Nations Championship. However, strong club form saw him win a try-scoring recall against Australia in November 2005. He stayed among the England setup throughout 2006 and during the Autumn internationals, but missed out on the Elite England squad for the 2007 Six Nations.

He regained a place in the squad for the summer tour of South Africa and raised the prospects for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. However, in May 2007 Cohen ruled himself out of both England's summer tour and the World Cup, stating that he wished to spend time with his pregnant wife, who is expecting twins.

Courted moves

Following his release from contract from Northampton RFC in 2007[7 ] [8] [9 ] [4 ] [10 ] [11] [12 ] , Cohen had been linked with midlands rivals Leicester Tigers [13], other English and French rugby union clubs and a switch of codes to rugby league at Harlequins or Wigan. [14 ].

His future had remained uncertain after he failed to join a Guinness Premiership club, several games into the season. He was selected for the Barbarians, appearing in the game wearing the socks of his first club, Northampton Old Scouts RFC [4] [15 ]. Cohen's most likely destination was believed to be Harlequins RL with then chairman Ian Lenagan talking to Cohen over recent months, however he shortly afterwards signed for Brive.

Status as a gay icon

Off field he is considered a gay-friendly icon. He has often spoken favourably of his gay following [16] and ousted David Beckham as Gay Times' sports personality of the year in 2008, and came second as their sexiest man of the year. [17] He has put his photogenic appeal to use by releasing a calendar. [18]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Rugby star Ben Cohen on being a first-time dad". News of the World. http://www.fabulousmag.co.uk/celebs/celeb_ben_cohen_issue_009.php. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  2. ^ "Saints confirm Cohen speculation". Northampton. 2007-08-22. http://www.northamptonsaints.co.uk/32_4642.php?PHPSESSID=e9afc1c01c8c54e99999618512fb3351. Retrieved 2007-08-22.  
  3. ^ "Cohen on strike after captaincy snub". Sportinglife. 2007-08-22. http://www.sportinglife.com/rugbyunion/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=rugby/07/08/22/RUGBYU_Cohen_Mallinder.html. Retrieved 2007-08-23.  
  4. ^ a b "Stayaway Cohen nears Northampton exit". Northampton. 2007-08-23. http://sport.guardian.co.uk/rugbyunion/story/0,,2154178,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-23.  
  5. ^ "Cohen's French revolution". Sky Sports. 2007-12-05. http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,12332_2946347,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-05.  
  6. ^ a b "Cohen's French revolution". Sky Sports. 2007-12-05. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/my_club/northampton/7119694.stm. Retrieved 2007-12-05.  
  7. ^ "Saints Part Way With Cohen". Northampton. 2007-09-24. http://www.northamptonsaints.co.uk/32_4714.php. Retrieved 2007-09-24.  
  8. ^ "Leo-Latu escapes Wakefield sack after racist comments". Guardian. 2007-08-24. http://sport.guardian.co.uk/rugbyleague/story/0,,2155365,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-27.  
  9. ^ "Cohen walks out after Saints snub". BBC. 2007-08-22. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/6957981.stm. Retrieved 2007-08-23.  
  10. ^ "League switch for Cohen?". Northampton Chronicle & Echo. 2007-08-25. http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/saints-rugby/League-switch-for-Cohen.3147556.jp. Retrieved 2007-08-25.  
  11. ^ "Keith sets exit date". Northampton Chronicle & Echo. 2007-09-06. http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/sport/Keith-sets-exit-date.3179925.jp. Retrieved 2007-09-06.  
  12. ^ "Reihana: Cohen will be sorely missed". Northampton Chronicle & Echo. 2007-08-30. http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/sport/Reihana-Cohen-will-be-sorely.3159157.jp. Retrieved 2007-08-30.  
  13. ^ "Cohen buys his way out of Northampton and eyes Leicester switch". Daily mail. 2007-08-30. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/sport/rugby.html?in_article_id=483585&in_page_id=1780. Retrieved 2007-08-30.  
  14. ^ "Cohen heads for Tigers?". Sky Sports. 2007-11-29. http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,12321_2929545,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-29.  
  15. ^ "Barbarians v South Africa (Sat)". BBC. 2007-11-28. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/7113739.stm. Retrieved 2007-11-29.  
  16. ^ http://outsports.com/people/2007/bencohen1106.htm
  17. ^ http://www.gaywired.com/article.cfm?id=19029&section=67
  18. ^ http://www.ben-cohen.com/calendar/index.html

External links

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