UK

Rugby centurions ‘excited’ to cycle 300km from London to Paris for charity

Rochelle Clark (left) and Tamara Taylor (right) are cycling from London to Paris for charity (Paul Harding/PA)
Rochelle Clark (left) and Tamara Taylor (right) are cycling from London to Paris for charity (Paul Harding/PA) Rochelle Clark (left) and Tamara Taylor (right) are cycling from London to Paris for charity (Paul Harding/PA)

A group of former international rugby stars from the UK are cycling around 300 kilometres from London to Paris to raise money for charity.

Rochelle “Rocky” Clark and Tamara Taylor are two of the Rugby Centurions – players that have reached the momentous milestone of 100 international caps – taking part in the challenge.

The centurions are setting off from Twickenham Stadium and will ride through London and into the countryside before arriving at the English Channel coast, where they will spend the night in Newhaven.

After getting off the ferry at the French port of Dieppe the next day, the group will cycle through the Normandy countryside, before riding to Paris on the third day.

Rochelle Clark said she has been training extensively for the challenge (Rochelle Clark/PA)

Ms Clark said she has been training extensively for the challenge – including cycling 100 kilometres on one occasion – and has been in “absolute pieces getting off the bike”.

She told the PA news agency: “It’s going to be a huge success when we cross the finish line, but it’s certainly going to put me out of my comfort zone and test me.

“The foot pain, the back pain, the saddle pain is just incredible.”

Ms Clark, who retired from international rugby in 2018 after a career spanning 15 years and four World Cups, said she “adopted the same approach I would for rugby” when training for the cycle.

She said: “Say if there’s hills or it’s really windy or it’s rubbish weather, you have to get yourself in that mindset to attack the hills or keep going and fight through it.

“It’s the same in rugby games, you’ll have lulls in a game so I would say there’s a lot of similarities.

“You put your body through the mill but you don’t get the impacts that you’d have in rugby, so I think [cycling is] perfect for an ex-rugby player or anybody.”

Ms Taylor, a former England women’s captain and the head coach for Sweden’s women’s team, told PA she was “nervous and excited, probably in equal measure at the moment” for the cycle.

Tamara Taylor said she is ‘nervous and excited’ for the challenge (Tamara Taylor/PA)

She said she has “cumulatively done the distances [for the 300 kilometre cycle] but just not in one go so hopefully my body’s training will kick into play and it’ll be okay”.

Among the other former rugby players taking on the challenge are Scotland’s most capped player Donna Kennedy and former Saracens and England hooker Amy Garnett.

The centurions are raising money for the Bhubesi Pride Foundation, a sports and education charity that works to empower communities in Africa.

Ms Taylor said: “The charity that we’re raising money for works a lot in Africa, and I grew up in central Africa until I was seven, so I’ve kind of got a little bit of my heart that’s African shaped I think so I always will try and support charities that are doing work out there.”

To view Ms Clark’s fundraising page, go to: bhubesipride.enthuse.com/pf/tamara-taylor-centurions-charity-cycle-london-paris-oct23