Cohen heads for Tigers?

England man close to finding new club after Northampton exit

Last Updated: 29/11/07 4:33pm

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Cohen: Deal on the cards

Cohen: Deal on the cards

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Ben Cohen has revealed he is close to finding a new club, with Leicester his most likely destination.

The 29-year-old winger left Northampton in September after being overlooked for the captaincy following the Saints' relegation from the Guinness Premiership.

Having bought himself out of his contract at Franklin's Gardens, the England international agreed to join Leicester, only for the move to fall through for salary cap reasons.

He has spent two months in limbo weighing up his options, which have included a potential switch to rugby league with Wigan.

However, having ruled out changing codes, Cohen is in advanced talks with a Premiership club close to his Northamptonshire home.

"I'm sorting out a club now," said Cohen, who has been named on the bench for the Barbarians' clash with South Africa on Saturday.

Offers

"I hope to be playing within the next few weeks - before the new year.

"There is nothing signed and sealed. I've had plenty of offers and I weighed up my options. But I've decided on the club it will be.

"We're just crossing Ts and dotting the Is. I won't be moving house.

"Going to league was an interesting choice. Wigan approached me and I was interested. The option is still there.

"Not many people go from union to league any more. It would have been exciting but it wasn't to be.

"There's a rugby league World Cup next year but I've already decided what's going to happen next.

"I'm feeling happier. I'm enjoying life but now it's time to get back to work.

"Since I've been out I've been training every day - running, swimming and staying trim."

Cohen has no regrets making himself unavailable for England's summer tour to South Africa and the World Cup, a decision prompted by the desire to spend time with his pregnant wife Abby.

The birth of their twins has consumed Cohen's time since, but the 2003 World Cup winner insisted he now has his heart set on adding to his 53 caps.

"I don't think you can ever retire from international rugby," he said.

"You always have to aspire to play for your country, whether you're up for selection or not.

"I've only just turned 29 and I have four or five years left. I have a lot to give.

"Hopefully if I'm playing well they will come and have a look at me.

"I've always missed playing for England, but family come first and it's been good to be at home.

"If you miss any of that time you'll never get it back. Yet you can miss half a season of rugby and get it back.

"I'm a family man and I didn't want to miss being at home with my family. It's very important to me.

"They were my first children and they were twins, two girls. It was hard work - it's probably the hardest thing I've done being a parent."

Cohen's self-enforced international exile excluded him from an enthralling World Cup that ended with England's heroic defeat to South Africa in the final.

But the nation's third-highest try-scorer of all time with 30 claimed he felt no bitterness watching Brian Ashton's side defy all the odds in France.

"It was hard watching the World Cup but they are all good boys and I get on well with them. I spoke to them quite often," he said.

"All credit to them because they came back after it seemed all done and dusted after losing to South Africa in the pool stage.

"To get to a World Cup final was fantastic."

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