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Why I'm Singing Instead of Playing on the Rugby Pitch for Sport Relief

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Everyone that knows me is aware that my talents don't extend to singing. In fact you could say that I'm a bit tone deaf. But you can't let your limitations stop you. At least that's what I was told by Austin Healey when he twisted my arm and asked me whether I would join The Sport Relief Big Hitters Choir and help raise money for Sport Relief. What he failed to mention to me was that I would have to sing with 22 other tone-deaf colleagues at Twickenham in front of a crowd of 82,000 enthusiastic rugby fans at the last RBS Six Nations Match this Saturday.

I've had some pretty pressurised moments in my career. I've played for England 35 times and have been in three England World Cup campaigns as well as playing 200 times in the England Premiership. But I have to be honest when I say that nothing has terrified me quite like the thought of singing to a packed out stadium filled with rugby supporters! But having mulled it over, I decided that I was going to get stuck in and get involved. After all Sport Relief is a fantastic campaign and although I'll be really uncomfortable belting out my base notes with the other boys, it doesn't really compare to the people living incredibly tough lives both here in the UK and in the world's poorest countries that Sport Relief helps.

So I said yes, as long as Austin had told me the full story and there weren't going to be any surprises. And that's when he told me that we were going to be singing the JLS Sport Relief official single Proud. Don't get me wrong, everyone loves JLS, they are very talented guys - both my kids love them and went crazy when I told them that I would get to meet and sing with them. But JLS songs aren't really what people expect rugby players to sing. Still, it's for a great cause and it's a great song so I thought why not, I can do this.

Rehearsals, however are proving otherwise! Whilst I can hit the low and even have a stab at the middle notes, the high notes are evading me. And I think everyone would agree because I'm definitely not pegged for a solo. Austin, Mike Catt and Shane Williams seem to be handling the tune ok but I need a lot more practice. Spending time with JLS at one of the rehearsals last week helped, but I've got a long way to go. The old adage that if you really put your mind to something you can achieve anything, doesn't really apply to my singing.

But I remain determined not to entirely humiliate myself and am attempting to refine my performance by practicing in the car on the way to work, in the shower, in-front of the kids and whenever I get the chance. And I know that although it's something I'll never do again, it's for a great charity that works really hard to bring a nation together to take part, raise cash and change lives.

And on a serious note, for those people who don't like singing it's incredibly easy to get involved with Sport Relief - just do a Mile on Sunday 25 March. And you don't have to run it, you can hop, skip or walk it. It's a great way to come together and make a difference to those who really need it. So please get involved whether it's watching me and the boys trying to sing this Saturday or doing the Mile, help make a difference with Sport Relief!

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