Ben Kay began his rugby journey at the age of 5 playing Mini Rugby for Waterloo Under 9's. The loyalty that has defined his career was evident from this early stage as he ended up playing for his hometown club, despite offers from much bigger clubs.
His arrival at Leicester Tigers coincided with the 1999 World Cup and gave this premiership unknown the chance to shine as he helped Leicester lift the premiership title in May. The following season Ben was rewarded with his first England cap against Canada in 2001. That game cemented his place in the England side, and by the end of the season, Ben had forged the world¹s most formidable 2nd row partnership with Martin Johnson for both club and country.
Ben's big year came in 2003. A Grand Slam at the 6 Nations, England's first ever Test victory on Australian soil and an away victory against themighty All Blacks with Ben at the heart of the game.
However, it was England's next journey to the Southern Hemisphere that will live with so many for so long, where
Ben played a crucial role in the most exciting game in
Ben had joined an elite bunch who could call themselves a Rugby World Champion and was honoured by the Queen with an MBE for services to rugby. Since that day, Ben has rarely faltered. In 2007 he was the only English player to see every minute of action in the Rugby World Cup. And in 2008/09,
Ben played an incredible and unmatched 35 out of 36 games for the Tigers, earning him an award for outstanding service to the club.
As someone who has shunned the limelight in favour of loyalty both to the teams he has played for and the game itself, Ben has ensured that during rugby's transition into professionalism he has remained one of a dying breed of gentlemen and richly deserving of a testimonial.