Ben Kay

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Ben Kay
Ben Kay2.jpg
Full name Benedict James Kay
Date of birth (1975-12-14) 14 December 1975 (age 38)
Place of birth Liverpool, England
Height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight 18 st 1 lb (120 kg)
School Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby
University Loughborough University
Notable relative(s) Sir John Kay (father)
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Second Row
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Loughborough Students RUFC
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1999–2010 Leicester Tigers 281 (55)
correct as of 9 June 2010.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2001–2009
2005
England
British and Irish Lions
62
2
(10)
(0)
correct as of 14 June 2009.

Benedict James Kay MBE (born 14 December 1975) is a retired English international rugby union footballer who played Second row forward for Leicester Tigers and England.

Background[edit]

Kay was born in Liverpool, the son of Lord Justice of Appeal Sir John William Kay (1943–2004),[1] which later earned him the nickname "M'lud".[2] Kay first started playing rugby for Waterloo minis going on to play for the Waterloo first team.

Kay played for his school (Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby) and has also played for Queensland University. He represented England in the 1996 Students World Cup in South Africa and at U18, U19 and U21 level. He attended Loughborough University, where he obtained a degree in Sports Science.

Career[edit]

Ben Kay with the Guinness Premiership trophy

Kay joined Leicester Tigers from Waterloo in 1999 and first played during the World Cup, with Tigers' normal Second rows Martin Johnson and Fritz van Heerden away with England and South Africa respectively. With the help of Johnson and van Heerden, he developed his game, becoming a highly rated middle line-out jumper, like van Heerden. He was a member of Tigers' Heineken Cup winning sides in 2001[3] and 2002[4] as his international career blossomed.

Having made his England A début against France A in Blagnac in 2000 Kay led England A to a 23–22 win over France A at Redruth in April 2001, and was called up for England's successful tour of North America and Japan that summer. He made his England début against Canada on 2 June 2001 displacing Danny Grewcock from the England side.[5]

After another outstanding season he was named as the Tigers Members' Player of the Year 2001/2, and was a nominee for the Zurich Premiership Player of the Year. He was in the starting line-up for all the Six Nations games in 2002, and scored a try against Ireland.[6] After touring with England to Argentina in the summer of 2002, where he scored his second try,[7] Kay went on to compete in both the Autumn internationals and the Six Nations, before touring to New Zealand and Australia in June 2003.

Kay confirmed his status as a core part of the England squad in the World Cup when he played every minute of every England game except the game against Uruguay. His line-out skills came to the fore here, particularly during the games against South Africa, when Kay learned to count to ten in Afrikaans to crack the Springboks' line-out codes.[8] During the final against Australia, Kay famously knocked-on (dropped the ball forwards) in a try-scoring position when a try would have almost certainly meant an England win. Fortunately for him, England won regardless, partly as a result of Tigers' team-mate Lewis Moody winning a line-out Kay himself had called.[9]

Sir Clive Woodward selected him for the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.[10] Kay came off the bench against Argentina in an official Test prior to the tour.[11] Kay started in the first Test of the series.[12]

He was the only player to play every minute of England's 2007 Rugby World Cup campaign culminating in their narrow loss in the Final.[13] He was one of only four players to have started both the 2003 and 2007 RWC Finals, the other three being Jonny Wilkinson, Jason Robinson and Phil Vickery.

Kay was a used replacement in every game of the 2008 Six Nations.[14]

He started both the 2008–09 Heineken Cup final and the Guinness Premiership win the same season. The Tigers won back-to-back Premiership titles the following season, in the 2009–10 Guinness Premiership, by beating Saracens 33–27 at Twickenham,[15] though Kay did not feature in that game. He decided to retire at the end of the 2009–10 season after 11 years with Leicester Tigers.[16] He has since worked as a commentator for ESPN and BT Sport.

Personal life[edit]

Kay is a supporter of Liverpool.[17]

Kay paid his respects to his former sports teacher at Merchant Taylors, Ian 'Robbo' Robinson, who died in a white water rafting incident whilst on a rugby tour with the school.[18]

Kay is married to wife Virginia, a physiotherapist, and they have one daughter.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sir John Kay obituary". London: The Telegraph. 6 July 2004. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  2. ^ All you need to know about tonight's teams from The Guardian
  3. ^ "European glory seals Leicester treble". BBC. 19 May 2001. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  4. ^ Moore, Jonathon (25 May 2002). "Tigers retain European Cup". BBC. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  5. ^ Lyon, Sam (2 June 2001). "Lewsey shines as England pack punch". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  6. ^ "Awesome England brush Ireland aside". BBC. 16 February 2002. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  7. ^ "Argentina beaten by England youngsters". BBC. 22 June 2002. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  8. ^ "Ben Kay: The Codebreaker". London: Daily Mail. 16 October 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  9. ^ Evans, Mark (23 November 2003). "Boring England? Not nearly boring enough". London: Independent. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  10. ^ "Wilkinson left out of Lions squad". BBC. 11 April 2005. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  11. ^ "Lions 25–25 Argentina". BBC. 23 May 2005. Archived from the original on 23 May 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  12. ^ "New Zealand 21–3 Lions". BBC. 25 June 2005. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  13. ^ Standley, James (20 October 2007). "World Cup final 2007". BBC. Archived from the original on 26 June 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  14. ^ Gordos, Phil (15 March 2008). "Six Nations 2008". BBC. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  15. ^ Foy, Chris (31 May 2010). "Tigers pounce to give Lewis Moody a victorious send off". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  16. ^ "Kay announces retirement". Leicester Mercury website. 9 June 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  17. ^ "Leicester Tigers star Ben Kay delighted to be back in England set-up". this is leicestershire. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  18. ^ Barrett, Tony (18 October 2007). "England hero Ben Kay's debt to Mr Robinson". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 

External links[edit]