Ben Foden

Ben Foden
Personal information
Full name Benjamin James Foden
Date of birth (1985-07-22) 22 July 1985
Place of birth Chester, England
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 93 kg (14 st 9 lb) [1]
School Tarporley Community High School
Bishop Heber High School
Malpas Cheshire
Bromsgrove School
University Manchester University
Spouse Una Healy (m. 2012)
Relatives Rob Foden (Dad)Tom Foden (brother)
Kate, Abigail, Miranda (sisters) Aoife Foden (daughter)
Tadhg Foden (son)
Club information
Position Fullback, Wing, Scrum-half
Current club Northampton Saints
Youth clubs
Crewe & Nantwich , Sandbach, Chester
Senior clubs*
YearsClubApps (points)
Sale Sharks
Northampton Saints
54 (50)
200 (240)
Representative teams

England U16
England U19
England U21
England A

34 (35)
Sevens National teams
* Professional club appearances and points
counted for domestic first grade only.

Benjamin James "Ben" Foden (born 22 July 1985 in Chester)[2] is a model and rugby union player who plays for Northampton Saints and England. He plays at fullback or scrum-half, but can also operate on the wing. He scored his first try for England against France in the 2010 Six Nations.

He gained his nickname of 'Pop Idol' or 'Pops' by missing the first day of pre-season with Sale for an audition on the programme.[3]


Foden was educated at Bishop Heber High School in Malpas, Cheshire before moving to Bromsgrove School for sixth form. His Bromsgrove School teacher Paul Mullan was a big influence on his career, as was his dad, Rob, who coached Ben and brother Tom's youth team.

His career has been divided between playing at scrum-half and fullback, though he can also operate on the wing. In an interview in March 2009, Foden accepted that his future lies at playing fullback.[4]

Foden played for Cheshire and North of England U16s, and England U16s. He then went on to play for England U19s, and England Counties.


Ben Foden playing for Northampton in 2012

He joined Sale Sharks in 2004, and Sale Sharks coach Philippe Saint-André saw him primarily as a full-back, commenting after a strong performance from Foden against Newcastle Falcons, "If he's not a full-back I will eat my French beret. There is not a lot of competition among England full-backs and he deserves to go on tour with England – as a full-back not a scrum-half." [5] Despite these ringing words of endorsement from his coach, Foden's desire to play scrum half saw him sign for Northampton Saints on the basis of a promise to play him at his preferred position; a promise that Sale Sharks could not give him,[6] considering his fantastic performances at full-back, and the club presence of England international scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth and the arrival of Welsh international Dwayne Peel for the next season. In the 2005–2006 season, Foden played as a replacement in the final as Sale Sharks won their first ever Premiership title.[7]

He began his Northampton Saints career competing with Lee Dickson for the scrum half position, however he was still utilised in his position of full back. Dickson won the battle for the scrum half shirt, and Northampton frequently used Foden in the position of full back. Many fine performances confirmed Foden's great potential at full back and has since become a regular fixture in the number 15 jersey for both club and country. In the 2008–09 season, he helped the Saints win the European Challenge Cup.[8]

In March 2011, following a Saints win over Wasps, Foden was arrested following an altercation with a taxi driver in London, but both Northampton and the RFU were happy to let the issue lie after he accepted a police caution.

In May 2014, Foden won the Aviva Premiership title with Northampton, playing 80 minutes plus extra time in the final against Saracens at full back and scoring a try.[9]


He was included in the England U21s team for the 2005 Six Nations and World Championships, and the 2006 Six Nations and World Championship. Foden was a member of the 2006 Grand Slam winning England U21 squad, playing in all five matches and notching up three tries. He went on to play at the 2006 Under 21 Rugby World Championship later that year, sharing the number 9 jersey with Danny Care. He played for the England Sevens in 2006/7 and 2007/8, and the England Saxons at the 2008 Churchill Cup against USA before being included in the England Elite Playing Squad.

Foden was named in the England Elite Playing Squad for the Six Nations on 14 January 2009, and earned his first cap for the England v Italy match on 7 February 2009 when he came on as a replacement at scrum-half for Harry Ellis, with England winning 36–11.[10]

He was included in the England squad for the 2009 summer tour against the Barbarians and Argentina and made his first start for England in the uncapped game against the Barbarians on 30 May 2009, a game which saw him playing on the wing and scoring a try in the 32nd minute.[11]

Despite fullback Delon Armitage being injured for the 2009 Investec Autumn Internationals, Foden was not included in the squad – manager Martin Johnson instead preferring to play wings Ugo Monye and Mark Cueto out of position.[12] By the 2010 Six Nations, Armitage was fit again, though a series of below par performances saw Foden seize the 15 shirt, with substitute performances against Ireland and Scotland, before gaining his first Test start against France. An improved performance by the England side saw Foden score his first try in a Test match, though the team lost 12–10.[13]

Foden retained his starting place for the summer tour to Australia, playing with club colleague Chris Ashton. Although England lost the first Test,[14] they won the second 20–21. Foden cited this as his greatest day as a rugby player.[15] He also featured as a replacement in an uncapped game for England against the New Zealand Maori side.[16]

He also had the distinction of gaining more metres (100.6) in the 2011 RBS 6 Nations than any other player in the Championship. Teammate Chris Ashton was third with 74, half a metre behind Maxime Médard, of France.

He was named in the elite player squad for the 2010–11 season.[17] Later that year he cemented his place as England's first-choice fullback, his early flirtation with scrum-half shelved after some strong form. Foden was a key member of the side that beat Australia twice in 2010 and also started all of England's Six Nations games as they came up short of a Grand Slam in 2011.

And Foden was later selected in England's World Cup squad, holding off the challenge of Delon Armitage to retain the fullback shirt during England's disappointing campaign.

International tries

Try Opposing team Location Venue Competition Date Result
Barbarian F.C. London, England Twickenham Summer International 30 May 2009 Lost [18]
1  France Paris, France Stade de France Six Nations 20 March 2010 Lost
2  South Africa London, England Twickenham Test match 27 November 2010 Lost
3  France London, England Twickenham Six Nations 26 February 2011 Won
4  Romania Dunedin, New Zealand Dunedin World Cup 24 September 2011 Won
5  France Auckland, New Zealand Eden Park World Cup 8 October 2011 Lost
6  France Paris, France Stade de France 2012 Six Nations 11 March 2012 Won
7  South Africa Durban, South Africa Mr Price Kings Park Test match 9 June 2012 Lost

† Full international cap not awarded for Barbarians Test match [18]

Personal life

Ben is married to Una Healy of British-Irish girl group, The Saturdays. They married on 30 June 2012 in her native Ireland.[19] On 13 March 2012, Una gave birth to their daughter, Aoife Belle Foden, who is the couple's first child.[20] Una confirmed on her Instagram page in September 2014 that she and husband Ben Foden are expecting their second child together due in 2015. Their son Tadhg John Foden was born on the 2 February 2015.


  1. "RFU Official Site of the RFU, Governing Body of Rugby Union in England". web page. RFU. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
  2. "RFU Official Site of the Northampton Saints - Player Profiles". web page. RFU. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
  3. Walsh, David (25 January 2009). "Ben Foden, rugby's Mr Versatile". London: Times Online. (subscription required)
  4. Wildman, Rob (13 March 2009). "Northampton's Ben Foden accepts his future is at full-back". London: Telegraph.
  5. Foy, Chris (21 April 2008). "Scrum half Foden is a perfect No15, says Sale's Saint-Andre". London: Mail Online.
  6. "Saint in distress". Manchester Evening News. 1 April 2008.
  7. "Sale 45-20 Leicester". BBC. 27 May 2006. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  8. Pryor, Matthew (23 May 2009). "Northampton lift European Challenge Cup". London: The Times. (subscription required)
  9. "Premiership final: Saracens 20-24 Northampton Saints". BBC Sport. 31 May 2014.
  10. "Six Nations: England 36–11 Italy – Harry Ellis provides a boost for Martin Johnson". Mirror. 8 February 2009.
  11. "England 26 Barbarians 33: Match report". The Telegraph. 30 May 2009.
  12. Westerby, John (29 December 2009). "Ben Foden senses his chance to embark on another break for the limelight". London: Times.
  13. Fordyce, Tom (20 March 2010). "France 12–10 England". BBC Sport.
  14. "Australia 27–17 England". BBC Sport. 12 June 2010.
  15. Foy, Chris (21 June 2010). "Australia 20 England 21: Martin Johnson's men make us proud!". London: Mail Online.
  16. "Maori stun England for famous win". 23 June 2010.
  17. "Ex-England captain Steve Borthwick out of elite squad". BBC Sport. 1 July 2010.
  18. 1 2 "England 26 Barbarians 33: Match report". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
  19. "Pretty Saturdays star Una Healy kisses her boyfriend Ben Foden". London: The Sun. 4 May 2009.
  20. Daily Mail 13 March 2012 "Just in time for Mother's Day! Una Healy gives birth to baby girl Aoife with fiancé Ben Foden" Check |url= value (help). Daily Mail. Retrieved 18 January 2013.

External links

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