Imagine Rugby Blogs

Cohen Hangs Up His Boots To Focus On Foundation

Former England star hopes to spread the work of his foundation in America

Posted May 26, 2011 by Chris White

Cohen scores for Sale against former side Northampton

After a glittering career spanning 15 years, Ben Cohen has announced his retirement from professional rugby, so we thought it was only right that we pay tribute to the 2003 World Cup winner.

Cohen, who is now 32, made his professional debut at the age of 17 for Northampton Saints, where he played for eleven seasons between 1996 and 2007, making 146 appearances and scoring 320 points.

After deciding it was time for a new challenge, Cohen made the move to France, joining Brive where he scored 25 points in 16 appearances. After a series of injury problems blighted his time in France, Ben returned to England and joined Sale Sharks. He made 18 appearances for Sale, spending a lot of time working with the club’s younger players before picking up an injury in December last year. It was announced in March that Cohen’s contract at Edgeley Park would not be renewed.

Cohen represented his country 57 times, scoring 155 points – the 10th-highest point scorer in England rugby history, and second behind Rory Underwood in the list of all time England try scorers with 31 tries. Ben was in the victorious England World Cup squad back in 2003, and was honored for his achievements with an MBE, following in the footsteps of his uncle George, who won the football World Cup in 1996.

He announced his retirement on 15 May this year to focus on his new career with the Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation, which aims to combat homophobia and bullying.

Cohen’s work for the equality and rights of the individual has been developing over the past few years through his work with the gay community both here in the UK and also in America. He is the first straight sportsman to dedicate his philanthropic efforts for the benefit of LGBT people.
He is currently travelling to the USA on his own ‘Acceptance Tour’. He will be visiting 4 cities to promote his message, raise funds for LGBT organisations and to encourage people to stand up with him against bullying and homophobia.

After a superb rugby career, I hope Ben continues his good work and makes a real difference to people’s lives.  

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