- Rugby legends will perform the JLS Sport Relief single 'Proud' this Saturday
- "Nothing compares to the terror of singing in front of thousands" – Healey
‘The Big Hitters’, a chorus of rugby’s finest, will try to hit all the right notes for Sport Relief with their version of the JLS official Sport Relief single ‘Proud’ when they perform before kick-off at the RBS 6 Nations England v Ireland match on Saturday, March 17.
Brian Moore, Mike Catt, Colin Charvis, Kelly Brown, Jeff Probyn and Austin Healey are among the line-up which is known for its sporting rather than musical skills. They may have sung National Anthems and rugby songs over the years but a three minute version of ‘Proud’, with solos, in front of the 82,000 Twickenham crowd, will be quite a challenge.
Former England flanker, Mick ‘the Munch’ Skinner said: "It has been brilliant to be involved - we’re not singers, we’re rugby players! We’ve had great fun in rehearsals and will be looking to take that out onto the pitch. Twickenham is full of memories and this will be another to add.
"England are filling me with pride at the moment and in fact that is what this song is about, being proud. Stuart Lancaster has brought that to the squad, the guys want to put that shirt on for England. Ability is obviously important but pride, wanting to go out there and be counted, is what matters. For me, seeing England’s passion will make me proud again when I stand at Twickenham."
Photo: Matt Leete
Austin Healey added: "There have been many times in my life when I’ve been full of nerves and adrenalin before a big game, but nothing compares to the terror of singing live in front of the thousands of fans at Twickenham. This really is like nothing else I’ve done!"
To ensure they’re all singing from the same song sheet and make sweet music rather than hitting a flat note, The Big Hitters have been working with vocal coach Zoe Tyler. And to help them overcome their tears, tantrums and tone deafness, they have been mentored by JLS, the UK’s hottest pop group, who they will perform with live on Sport Relief’s Night of TV on Friday, March 23 on BBC One and BBC One HD.
Speaking about working with The Big Hitters, JLS’s JB said: “When I was younger I was a really keen rugby player and trained with London Irish as a junior. I remember watching these guys playing on TV and thinking I wanted to be a professional rugby player.
"Meeting and working with them has been a real honour and it’s been great to help them practice for their big performance and do something amazing for Sport Relief. They can now hit the high notes and I’ve been able to hang out with my idols and dust off my rugby moves. We’ve got everything crossed for them and wish them all the best of luck for Saturday."
The Big Hitters’ line up includes:
Andy Gomersall, Austin Healy, Ben Clarke, Ben Kay, Brian Moore, Colin Charvis, Gary Halpin, Jeff Probyn, Justin Bishop, Kelly Brown, Kyran Bracken, Mark Regan Mick Skinner, Mike Catt, Mike Teague, Paul Randall, Rob Henderson, Rupert Moon, Tony Copsey and Ugo Monye.
Proud will be available to download on March 18 and in stores from March 19. At least 42p for each download on iTunes and at least £1 from the sale of each CD will go to Sport Relief. The money raised from the single and by the public for Sport Relief will be spent helping people living incredibly tough lives, both at home in the UK and across the world’s poorest countries.
Pre-order Proud on iTunes: www.itunes.apple.com. For everything you need to know about Sport Relief go to www.sportrelief.com