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2017

 
 

   
John Bentley
John Bentley  
   
John Bentley, former England and Lions wing is the official RugbyFest Ambassador and a keen participant in the more social aspects of the RugbyFest event.

Originally a Union player, he made his England debut against Ireland in 1988 aged 21 and played on the summer tour against Australia.

After training as a policeman he switched codes from Rugby Union, which was then an amateur-only game, to Rugby League, where he became a professional. He played for Great Britain at league and signed for Leeds, before moving on to Halifax, as well as enjoying a short spell in Australia with Balmain Tigers.

When Rugby Union turned professional, he signed for Union side Newcastle Falcons in 1996, helping the side to their first and so far only premiership title. He was then selected for the 1997 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa.

Bentos, as he is affectionately known, MC’s the Evening with Kowloon and between anecdotes and beer quaffing manages to keep the event ticking along.
   

Wendell Sailor

Wendell Sailor  
 

Wendell Jermaine Sailor (born 16 July 1974 in Brisbane, Queensland) is an Australian former professional rugby football player who represented his country in both rugby league and rugby union – a dual code international. He is an indigenous Australian Torres Strait Islander.

Sailor's large frame and bullocking style changed the way wingers played rugby league in the late nineties. His big-money move from the Brisbane Broncos to the Queensland Reds in 2001 created many headlines, as did his move at the end of the 2005 Super 12 season to the New South Wales Waratahs. He has often attracted public attention during his career, none more so than in 2006 after the return of a positive drug test following the Waratahs v Brumbies match at Aussie Stadium on 16 April 2006. This put an end to his rugby union career as he received a two-year suspension from all forms of rugby. He successfully returned to rugby league in May 2008 with NRL club St George Illawarra Dragonsonce his ban expired, playing an additional two seasons under his old coach at Brisbane, Wayne Bennett, before retiring.

   

Neil De Kock

Neil de Kock  

The South African-born scrumhalf Neil De Kock has been a superb acquisition for Saracens, offering experience and fighting spirit to the team. He captained the team to the semifinals of the Heineken Cup and is regarded as one of the best overseas signings Sarries has made. He gained invaluable experience with Western Province, the Stormers and the Springboks while playing in his native land, and hasn't missed a beat since joining Sarries.

Such was his impact in his first year that he was the players’ choice to lead the side as captain for the 2007/08 season.

He was a regular with the South African province and also with the Super 14 side The Stormers and is widely regarded as one of the most talented scrum halves in South Africa where his passing, kicking game and all round awareness saw him win 10 caps for the Springboks after making his debut in 2001 against Italy. He was also part of the country’s 2003 World Cup squad.

   

Charlie Hodgson

charlie hodgson

Fly-half Charlie Hodgson is the Premiership's record points scorer and has also experienced success on the international circuit with England.

He made his debut for Sale against Auch in 2000, with his strong kicking game and reliable accuracy gaining him a first England cap in 2001. Against Romania at Twickenham he collected a massive 44-point haul, including two tries, on debut as England racked up 134 unanswered points.

Hodgson played three games during the 2003 Six Nations as England won a Grand Slam, but did not make the trip to the Rugby World Cup later in the year. Following England's triumph Hodgson entered his most regular period at international level, when he was handed the huge task of deputising for the injured Jonny Wilkinson.

In 2006, Hodgson won the Premiership with Sale - his record at club level is impeccable but he at times hit a wall at international level. His cap against South Africa at Twickenham proved to be his last until March 2008. In June 2008 Hodgson was handed the England fly-half jersey for a Test against the All Blacks and was given a torrid time by giant centre Ma'a Nonu. He disappeared from the England setup but continued to produce the goods in the colours of Sale.

Hodgson continued to perform well for a struggling Sale Sharks side and he was rewarded with a return to the international arena in the summer of 2010 when he played for England against the Barbarians. He was selected for England's tour of Australia and played against the Australia Barbarians but failed to make the Test team.

In January 2011 Hodgson confirmed that he would be leaving Sale to join Saracens at the end of the season. He was subsequently included in England's squad for the Six Nations.

He performed well for Sarries and was rewarded with a call up from Stuart Lancaster for the 2012 Six Nations. And Hodgson's second coming on the international stage was marked with the match-winning try against Scotland in the opening round of the tournament. The Sarries fly-half charged down fellow fly-half Dan Parks attempted clearance kick and dotted the ball down for the only score of the match as England ran out 13-6 winners.

Hodgson continued in a similar vein against Italy the following week as once again he charged down a kick and scored England's sole try. But despite his two-try heroics, he lost his fly-half berth for the rest of the Six Nations to Owen Farrell.

After impressing on the domestic stage near the end of the Premiership, he was called up by England for the summer tour to South Africa. After playing in both of their midweek tour matches, Hodgson announced his retirement from international rugby soon after they returned.

 

 

 

 

 
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