- Ben reflects on his time at Bridgnorth RFC and how important it is to inspire the future generations of rugby
- Bridgnorth RFC is a club that epitomises the #rugbyfamily
- Ben tells us of his experience winning a Six Nations Grand Slam with England
Ben, what were you doing in Bridgnorth RFC today?
Today, I surprised the Bridgnorth U16's in the changing room, they didn't know I was coming! I came to surprise them before their big Cup game and gave them a bit of a talk and just helped out where I could. It is great to reconnect with grassroots rugby, I hope that I've left them with some good memories anyway.
How important is it to inspire the future generations of the sport?
I think it's probably one of the most important things that we can do as players that are currently professionals to generate the sort of excitement between the grassroots. Ultimately everyone that is playing professional rugby or playing for England has come through a local club and it's important that we get back to that grassroots rugby and encourage them. We were once one of them and there's no reason they can't do it. If we can give them a bit of belief and a bit of experience, then that's brilliant.
You started in a small club like this, how important do you think it was in getting you to where you are now?
My first club was the club that really encouraged me to play rugby, it got me excited about rugby, so I think it's really important. Ultimately, it's where you learn your trade and it's where I did, so for me when I played at Holt, which is a tiny little club very similar to this, I just did it because I enjoyed it and it gave me the excitement about rugby. That led me to where I am today.
What do you think the children involved have taken from today?
I think they just enjoyed it. Hopefully I have just given them a good day that they go home and tell their mates about, but I think the main thing is I've hopefully just been able to excite them about rugby and give them a few tips. Sometimes it's just nice to know that someone is on the side lines watching them and trying to be a part of what they are doing.
Looking at your own season this year, how does it feel to have won the Grand Slam?
Yeah it was pretty awesome. To come second in the last four years and lose a couple of grand slam games in the process really sits with you. It hurt. The reason you play the game is because you want to win, you want to win cups and I've been fortunate at Leicester to have won stuff, but with England I haven't. I've won Six Nations titles but it is kind of diluted really unless you get a Grand Slam, so to finally do that and get over the line was just the best feeling ever!
Leicester are currently 4th in the league, how do you think the rest of the season looks for the team?
We've got some massive games coming up, its crunch time of the season! I think we're capable of doing something special, but if we don't then I know that under (Aaron) Mauger this is the first year of exciting times and will be a step towards what's going to be a great few years ahead.