A quintet of rugby heroes are to be inducted into the Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame next week at a black-tie gala event in central London.
World Cup winners Ben Kay, Jason Robinson and Kyran Bracken are joined by fellow England stars Steve Borthwick and Nick Easter as inductees to the exclusive Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame.
The ceremony takes place at London’s Honourable Artillery Company in seven days’ time as the five legends join the likes of Jonny Wilkinson, Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio as members.
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Robinson was described by former Sale Sharks team-mate Steve Hanley as “quite simply, the best player to have ever played rugby” after just seven years in union.
The electric winger/full-back scored 33 tries in 112 Premiership Rugby games, captaining Sale to their first-ever Premiership title and two European Challenge Cups.
He is a two-time British & Irish Lion and scored 28 England tries in 51 appearances in addition to lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy alongside Kay.
Kay, the 6ft 6in Leicester Tigers second row, was affectionately nicknamed “M’lud” throughout his career thanks to his father being Lord Justice of Appeal Sir John William Kay.
He joined the Leicester club in 1999 and became a regular in Tigers and England squads. He earned 62 England caps as well as two British & Irish Lions Test appearances.
At Welford Road, Kay enjoyed an incredibly successful period, winning six Premiership Rugby titles, as well back-to-back European crowns in 2001 and 2002.
Kay will be a familiar face to many Premiership Rugby fans with his post-playing career as a co-commentator and pundit as well as joining the board of directors at Tigers in 2014.
Borthwick’s induction is long overdue as he stands clear of every player in English rugby history as the most capped Premiership Rugby player of all time.
His 265 career appearances span from 1998-2014, while he also managed to pack in 57 England caps in that time and lead the Red Rose on 21 occasions.
Renowned for lineout expertise, Borthwick captained Bath Rugby to the Premiership Rugby Final in 2004 and the European Challenge Cup crown in 2008 – his final game at the club.
Starting as co-captain with Andy Farrell before taking over the role himself, Borthwick then led Saracens from nearly men to the European powerhouses that we now know after joining them in 2008.
They won the Premiership Rugby crown in 2011, made it to the knockout stages of Europe every year from 2012 until his retirement – including a runners-up finish to Toulon in 2014 – and laid the foundation for the dominant side to come.
Since hanging up his boots, Borthwick has already catapulted himself to the top of the coaching tree after impressive spells with Japan, England and latterly the British & Irish Lions.
Easter is also a former England captain who spent an astonishing 12-year stint at Harlequins.
The back rower made 281 appearances in the famous quartered jersey and helped them to a maiden Premiership Rugby title in the 2011-12 season.
He scored 54 club tries in total, the same number of times he pulled on the England jersey, and he added nine more international scores to his total.
Not only did he lead the Red Rose twice, Easter holds a number of international records, including becoming the first No.8 to score four tries in one match for England – against Wales in 2007 – and the country’s oldest ever try-scorer after his 2015 World Cup hat-trick against Uruguay.
Bracken is a sporting all-rounder who represented Bristol Rugby, Saracens, England and the British & Irish Lions.
Just a year after joining Saracens he helped them win the Tetley’s Bitter Cup alongside Francois Pienaar and Michael Lynagh, and they came within a point of a league and cup double.
From there, Bracken was a key figure for Saracens for nearly a decade, captaining the side for two seasons, before eventually calling time on his career in 2006.
Thrown in at the deep end on his England debut against the All Blacks in 1993, Bracken somehow played on despite suffering a serious ankle injury, helping the Red Rose to a famous win.
He went on to represent his country 51 times and was part of the 2003 crop that lifted the William Webb Ellis Cup, making his final Test appearance off the bench in the semi-final victory over France.
He was called up to the Lions 1997 tour of Australia and has been awarded an MBE for his services to rugby as well as winning TV show Dancing on Ice back in 2007.