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'Until that point, I'll continue to do it': Ben Earl explains his celebrations

By Josh Raisey
Ben Earl of England celebrates as Referee Mathieu Raynal awards a penalty to England during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between England and Argentina at Stade Velodrome on September 09, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

By the time the World Cup was drawing to a close, Ben Earl’s notorious whooping and hollering was no longer being talked about, nor was the subject of ridicule. That’s not because he had stopped doing it, rather it became apparent that it might have actually worked and had a positive effect on England. If not that, at the very least it was because his performances were stealing the attention.

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Earl was probably England’s best performer across the entire World Cup, and while he started the tournament being caricatured as a mouthy mascot for an underperforming England, he finished the tournament as the driving force behind a side that came within minutes of reaching the World Cup final and beating the eventual champions South Africa.

Well the Saracens and England loose forward had an emphatic message recently- he’s not going to stop any time soon. Joining Jim Hamilton on The Big Jim Show, the 25-year-old said that as long as it does not annoy his own teammates, he will continue with his now-iconic celebrations.

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What’s more, Earl also explained the reasons why he does what he does, and why he bizarrely wore a microphone to training to effectively help him improve on his cheering and celebrating.

“Firstly, the people I grew up loving, taking inspiration from, all did it,” he said on the podcast. “And I thought it was a really crucial part of what Saracens were when we were at our most successful.

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“But personally, for me, it’s a really good way of keeping myself engaged in games. A hard game of rugby these days is about 37 minutes. That’s 37 minutes of effort and the rest is rest time, ball’s not in play. So moments like that keep me engaged.

“In a scrum, if we get a scrum penalty, I’m obviously not in the middle of a scrum so I’m not blowing out my arse, I can really get the boys up for this, I can enjoy the victories. And I think on the same side, it’s what it can do to the opposition. If an opponent sees me – we’ve had a long defensive set and we get a turnover – and we’re celebrating, it just shows that we’ve got so much more in us, and we do. Obviously boys are hands on heads, hands on knees, on the floor, gasping for air, if I’m showing others that I’m ready to go, I’m showing the opposition that I’m ready to go, that can only be a good thing for the team.

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“I’ve said this to a few people who have asked me about it, I will continue to do it and if a teammate goes to me ‘Ben, I really don’t like it, it really off-puts me,’ I’ll stop in a heartbeat and that’s fine. But until that point, I’ll continue to do it.

“A big problem of mine when I was younger was I would be very inconsistently in games. I’d have an amazing five minutes and then I wouldn’t touch the ball for ten minutes or I wouldn’t make a tackle or my body language would be poor. I remember speaking to Alex Sanderson when he was at Sarries and we were trying to find ways of keeping me engaged in moments so that I was staying switched on. We came up with that as a way of really engaging me. I remember training with a mic on a couple of times and reviewing what I was saying to others and how I was talking to myself and that’s the result I came up with.”

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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