|Weight||93kg (14st 9lb)|
After a year’s absence from England’s Test squad through an ankle injury, Ben Foden made a triumphant return in the 32-3 win over Argentina at Salta last June and also played in the second Test against the Pumas a week later. A try in each of his four appearances against France had earlier reflected his impact since making the England full back role his own. His exploits against Les Bleus in March 2012 helped his side to a 24-22 win at the Stade de France, where he made his sixth touchdown overall.
His seventh followed when he started his first Test as a wing against South Africa at Durban that June before he reverted to full back against the Springboks in Johannesburg the following week. An ankle injury sustained against Bath Rugby in September 2012 forced him to miss subsequent QBE Internationals and the RBS 6 Nations Championship. He was an unused bench replacement for the opening QBE International against Australia in November 2013 before starting on the wing against Argentina and New Zealand in subsequent weeks.
When he switched from Sale Sharks to Northampton Saints five seasons ago, Ben yearned for an opportunity to play at scrum half. With it came a first cap off the bench for Harry Ellis against Italy in February 2009. His next two came a year later as a full back replacement for Delon Armitage. He went on to start 24 of England's 25 Tests in the No.15 shirt before moving to the wing.
Ben celebrated his 20th cap with his fourth international try against Romania in the 2011 RWC and added a fifth in the quarter-final against France. He also gained more metres (100.6) in the 2011 RBS 6 Nations than anyone else in the Championship.
Two international players, Richard Wigglesworth and Dwayne Peel had been vying for the Sharks’ No. 9 jersey but Ben’s foresight in changing clubs was rewarded with 31 appearances for the Saints in 2008-09. They included 20 in the Guinness Premiership, some at full back, the role in which he made a try-scoring first Test start against France in March 2010.
His second touchdown was from an interception and a 75-metre run in the South Africa game the following November and his third came three matches later against France along England’s forthright way to a 17-9 victory at Twickenham. Instinctive and versatile, he has shredded opposition defences for both Sale and Northampton and initially stepped into the England Elite Squad from the Saxons in the absence of the injured Olly Morgan.
Ben’s Premiership debut in May 2005 brought a try and a man of the match performance against the Saints and he bagged another touchdown on his maiden appearance for England Saxons in the 64-10 win over the USA in the Barclays Churchill Cup in June 2008.
Ben had already represented England U16, U19, Sevens, England Counties and was a member of the 2006 England U21 Grand Slam side, appearing in all five games and picking up three tries. His scoring knack was extended when he crossed the Barbarians’ line when playing on the wing for England in the non-cap match in May 2009.
He has also made a habit of collecting winners’ medals with two in the European Challenge Cup, one with Sale in 2005 and another after joining the Saints in 2009, when he earned the accolade of the RPA Young Player of the Year.
Ben also helped the Sharks to their 2006 Guinness Premiership title triumph. Educated at Bromsgrove School and Manchester University, he scored 19 tries in 24 games for his home city club Chester, where his father Rob was head coach.
Elder brother and fly half Tom, a former Birmingham & Solihull full back, guested for Bedford Blues against the Barbarians in the Mobbs Memorial Match four years ago and joined Championship club Rotherham Titans in the summer of 2011 before returning to National Three North club Chester, who were promoted to Two North for 2013-14.
35 points - 7T
2009 It(R) 2010 I(R), S(R), F, A(1,2), NZ, A, Sam, SA 2011 W, It, F, S, I, W, I World Cup - Arg, G, R, S, F 2012 S, It, W, F, I, SA (1,2,3) 2013 Arg(1R,2R), Arg, NZ
Last updated: January 15, 2014