|Weight||93kg (14st 9lb)|
A try in each of his four appearances against France reflects the impact Ben Foden has made since making the England full back role his own. His exploits against Les Bleus in March last year 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 last June before he reverted to full back against the Springboks in Johannesburg the following week. An ankle injury sustained against Bath Rugby last September forced him to miss the QBE Internationals last autumn and the subsequent RBS 6 Nations Championship.
When he switched four seasons ago from Sale Sharks to Northampton Saints, 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 at full back 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 had the distinction of gaining more metres (100.6) in the 2011 RBS 6 Nations than any other player in the Championship. Teammate Chris Ashton was third with 74, half a metre behind Maxime Médard, of France.
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 opposing 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.
Ironically, 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. By mid March this year, he had appeared in 117 Premiership matches and scored 27 tries.
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.
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)
Last updated: March 18, 2013