Ben Cohen (rugby player)

Ben Cohen (rugby player)

Infobox Rugby Union biography
playername = Ben Cohen

fullname = Ben Christopher Cohen MBE
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1978|9|14
cityofbirth = Northampton
countryofbirth = England
height = 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
weight = 16 st 3 lb (103 kg)
nickname = Big Ben, Air Ben, Benji
relatives = George Cohen
position = Wing / Outside Centre
currentclub = Brive
clubnumber = 11
youthyears =
youthclubs = Northampton Old Scouts
years = 1996 ‐ 07
2007 ‐
clubs = Northampton Saints
caps(points) = 146 (320)
4 (5)
repyears = 2000 ‐ 06
repteam = England RU
repcaps(points) = 53 (150)
pcupdate =
repupdate =

Ben Cohen MBE (born 14 September 1978 in Northampton), is an England rugby union international. Cohen has spent the bulk of his professional career with Northampton Saints, although he now plays for Brive in the Top 14 competition in France alongside fellow former Northampton team mate, Steve Thompson. cite web|url=|title=Saints Part Way With Cohen|publisher=Northampton|date=2007-09-24|accessdate=2007-09-24] His usual playing position is on the wing.


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.” []

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.

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. cite web|url=|title=Rugby star Ben Cohen on being a first-time dad|publisher=News of the World|accessdate=2008-08-04]


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 concent. Cohen had long been linked with a move away from the club. cite web|url=|title=Saints confirm Cohen speculation|publisher=Northampton|date=2007-08-22|accessdate=2007-08-22] cite web|url=|title=Cohen on strike after captaincy snub|publisher=Sportinglife|date=2007-08-22|accessdate=2007-08-23] cite web|url=,,2154178,00.html|title=Stayaway Cohen nears Northampton exit|publisher=Northampton|date=2007-08-23|accessdate=2007-08-23]

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, "Big" Ben Cohen 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 a spectacular try against the All Blacks and put in a try-saving tackle on Ben Blair, he scored twice against the Australians at Twickenham. One of his most memorable tries was scored against Australia in June 2003 as England swept aside the host nation 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 and the triumph marked a unique family double. His uncle George Cohen played football at right back for England when they won the 1966 World Cup.

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 and was showing fine form for Northampton Saints by the turn of the year, often as an outside centre.

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, being overlooked in favour of untested debutants such as David Strettle.

However, Cohen's 'never say die' approach, both as a general attribute and as exemplified during the closing stages of the 2006/07 Guinness Premiership season secured him a place in the squad for the summer tour of South Africa and raised the prospect of a place in the squad 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. This decision raises the possibility of Cohen announcing his retirement from international rugby in the near future.

Quite simply for a period of time (2002-2004) Cohen was without question the most feared 11 or wing player in the world. His physique, power and attitude coupled with a ferocious turn of pace made him virtually unstoppable inside his opponents half. His try in the autumn internationals of 2002 against New Zealand was testomoy to his handling skills and a turn of pace that was simply electrifying. He followed this up with tries against Australia and South Africa in the next two tests. A unique hatrick against the three southern hemisphere super powers. At this time Cohen averaged a try a game.


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. cite web|url=,19528,12332_2946347,00.html|title=Cohen's French revolution|publisher=Sky Sports|date=2007-12-05|accessdate=2007-12-05] He has signed a contract until 2009. cite web|url=|title=Cohen's French revolution|publisher=Sky Sports|date=2007-12-05|accessdate=2007-12-05] Cohen's move to the Limousin based club comes after Cohen had stated "I won't be moving house." cite web|url=|title=Cohen's French revolution|publisher=Sky Sports|date=2007-12-05|accessdate=2007-12-05]

Courted moves

He had been linked with a switch of codes to rugby league at Harlequins. He had also been linked midlands rivals Leicester Tigers. Northampton had appeared likely to demand a transfer fee given the breakdown in relations with the player and that he was contracted to Northampton Saints until the end of the 2007/2008 rugby union season. However his release has cleared a path for a move. cite web|url=|title=Saints Part Way With Cohen|publisher=Northampton|date=2007-09-24|accessdate=2007-09-24] cite web|url=,,2155365,00.html|title=Leo-Latu escapes Wakefield sack after racist comments|publisher=Guardian|date=2007-08-24|accessdate=2007-08-27] cite web|url=|title=Cohen walks out after Saints snub|publisher=BBC|date=2007-08-22|accessdate=2007-08-23] cite web|url=,,2154178,00.html|title=Stayaway Cohen nears Northampton exit|publisher=Guardian|date=2007-08-23|accessdate=2007-08-23] cite web|url=|title=League switch for Cohen?|publisher=Northampton Chronicle & Echo|date=2007-08-25|accessdate=2007-08-25] cite web|url=|title=Keith sets exit date|publisher=Northampton Chronicle & Echo|date=2007-09-06|accessdate=2007-09-06] cite web|url=|title=Reihana: Cohen will be sorely missed|publisher=Northampton Chronicle & Echo|date=2007-08-30|accessdate=2007-08-30] cite web|url=|title=Cohen buys his way out of Northampton and eyes Leicester switch|publisher=Daily mail|date=2007-08-30|accessdate=2007-08-30]

His future had remained uncertain after he failed to join a Guinness Premiership club, several games into the rugby union season. He was though selected for the Barbarians, appearing in the game wearing the socks of his first club, Northampton Old Scouts RFC [] . cite web|url=|title=Barbarians v South Africa (Sat)|publisher=BBC|date=2007-11-28|accessdate=2007-11-29] Cohen most likely destination was seen to be Harlequins RL with Ian Lenagan talking to Cohen over recent months, however Cohen elected not to move south, stating "I won't be moving house." cite web|url=,19528,12321_2929545,00.html|title=Cohen heads for Tigers?|publisher=Sky Sports|date=2007-11-29|accessdate=2007-11-29]

Cohen had spent two months in limbo weighing up his options, which have included a potential switch to rugby league with Wigan. cite web|url=,19528,12321_2929545,00.html|title=Cohen heads for Tigers?|publisher=Sky Sports|date=2007-11-29|accessdate=2007-11-29] It was believed he was to sign for Leicester Tigers after sorting out Salary Cap issues. cite web|url=|title=Cohen close to signing new deal|publisher=BBC|date=2007-11-29|accessdate=2007-11-29]

Cohen considered options to move to rugby league or accept overtures from both English and French rugby union clubs. While the cross-code switch intrigued him with Wigan and Harlequins RL suitors, he will be staying in the 15 a-side game. cite web|url=|title=Cohen close to new deal|publisher=Sportinglife|date=2007-11-29|accessdate=2007-11-29]

tatus as a gay icon

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

ee also

* List of top English points scorers and try scorers


External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Ben Cohen’s profile] at Northampton Saints
* [ Ben Cohen’s international stats] at ""
* [ Ben Cohen’s stats] at CA Brive Corrèze

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