Steele influence put me on course - Cohen
February 2, 2000
New England cap Ben Cohen today saluted the man who put him on a fast-track to Test match recognition bobsleigh international Ron Steel.
The Northampton wing, together with Bath centre and fellow 21-year-old Mike Tindall, will make his England debut in Saturday's Six Nations Championship opener against Ireland at Twickenham.
He admits his career has taken off since Steel came on the scene as a personal fitness trainer.
"I've been working with Ron since November, one hour every afternoon, four days each week," said Cohen, nephew of England 1966 World Cup-winner George.
"The emphasis has been on track work, and I am now playing my best rugby as a result. Ron was in the England bobsleigh squad but he also did athletics at a high level.
"My uncle George was very quick over 100 yards, and my dad Peter was no slouch either and it's an area I have worked hard on for quite a bit."
Cohen and his England team-mates will start training this morning at Sandhurst Military College.
Both Cohen and Tindall are rewarded for outstanding Premiership form this season, while another gifted prospect Bath utility back Iain Balshaw is among England coach Clive Woodward's seven ubstitutes.
Yorkshireman Tindall has the unenviable ask of replacing midfield superstar and Bath colleague Jeremy Guscott, newly etired from the Test scene after a memorable 65-cap odyssey, with Cohen taking over from England's injured World Cup top try-scorer Dan Luger.
Both promotions were signposted long in advance. But Balshaw almost joined them, pressing claims as a viable alternative to right-wing Austin Healey.
Elsewhere, the versatile Mike Catt will
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"'ve picked players who are on form for
"Tindall and Cohen are the two form
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There are eight starting line-up
Woodward felt that neither centre Will
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