Rugby heroes with £1m mountain to climb

A whole team of former Wales rugby captains is starting a year-long countdown to a climb of Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, with the aim of raising £1 million for charity.

“We need a long preparation time so that everyone can be in shape for the challenge,” says Rob Howley, the former Wales scrum-half and a member of the British and Irish Lions’ coaching panel in South Africas this year.

The plan is for the group to be on top of the mountain on September 6 2010, and the target is to raise £1 million for the Velindre Cancer Centre Stepping Stones appeal.

Trim-as-a-whippet Howley, pictured left, at an SJA working lunch earlier this year, said: “I haven’t done any serious training for about four years, so there is work to be done. Some of the equipment we used in training on the Lions’ tour can be used again in our preparations, and we will be going for long walks of three or four hours in Snowdonia or the Brecon Beacons.

“We know where people have not made it on Kilimanjaro because of altitude sickness, for example, and we will be taking lots of advice as we move forward.”

Along with Howley on the climb will be some of the biggest names from Wales rugby in recent times: Ieuan Evans, Jonathan Davies, Scott Quinnell, Scott Gibbs, Eddie Butler, Paul Thorburn, Gareth Thomas, Colin Charvis, Jonathan Humphreys, Mike Hall, Mark Taylor, Bleddyn Bowen, Rob Jones and Phil Davies.

Wales coach Warren Gatland will also take part.

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