- Jul 22, 1985
- Chester (England)
Ben came to the Saints with a reputation as an extremely talented footballer and since joining the club he has done nothing to dispel that - if anything that perception has been enhanced.
Although he came to the Gardens with aspirations to be the Saints' scrum-half, once he moved to full back - winning back-to-back man of the match performances in the process - Ben cemented himself as one of the team's prime attacking weapons.
A first England cap was followed by a European Challenge Cup winner's medal, and as 2009/10 continued Ben established himself as England's pre-eminent full back. His first start came in the 6 Nations trip to France where Ben would score his first England try before he was chosen to head down under with the national squad in the summer.
Not before being shortlisted in the nominations for the RPA Players' Player of the Season though and Ben's form showed no signs of wavering as he entered 2010/11.
A stunning 80-metre try against South Africa in the Autumn made the shortlist for IRB Try of the Year and Ben also started every game in England's 6 Nations winning campaign, bagging a try in the Twickenham win over France.
Back with the Saints, tries in the Heineken Cup semi-final and final further illustrated Ben's attacking threat, which has only been been matched by his world class defence as the Saints' last line.
In his first Rugby World Cup, Ben would start every game for England and while their tournament would end prematurely, two tries - inclduing one against France in the quarter final - further signalled Ben's rise.
Back with the Saints, the 26-year-old stepped up his level of performance even further and was a shoe-in for England's Six Nations squad. A score in that tournament against France was followed by a try-fest in Saints colours and Ben not only scooped the Saints Try of the Season, but also the Top Try Scorer award, too.
While ankle surgery early in 2012/13 saw Ben miss 10 Saints games, the full back returned ahead of schedule for the win at Sale. And while that injury quashed any involvement with England and potential Lions selection, Ben put the disappointment behind him to approach top speed once more as the Saints hit the business end of the Aviva Premiership season - one he will follow with a tour to Argentina.