Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford will be trying to earn £1 million for Sport Relief in front of 80,000 rugby fans tomorrow
Long jump hero Greg will attempt the Saracens ‘Catch-a-Million’ challenge during half-time of the Aviva Premiership Rugby match against Harlequins at Wembley and if he can catch three consecutive up-and-unders he will win the money.
And while the 27-year-old rose to the occasion when he struck gold in front of his home crowd at the London 2012 Olympics he admits this is an entirely different ball game.
He said: “Mine is maybe the most fun challenge to do but there’s so much pressure. The idea of having 80,000 people watching live, on TV, as I attempt to catch three rugby balls that are shot very high up in the air - I have to expect to get all three because if I don’t I set myself up for failure already. That’s my competitive side.
“I’ve got nothing to base this on. When you’re in competition you ask who you’re up against, what are your chances against them and I could give you an idea.
“I actually have no idea here. Genuinely no idea - I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m completely on my own.
“If I get all three then I’ll be absolutely over the moon but if I don’t I’ll be gutted. With it being for charity I’m assuming everyone will want me to do well. Again, I’ve got to manage it and finish the task. I’ve got to catch them!
“I’m training as normal as I do every day and then just worrying about it at night. The training for my job is easy for me because I know what I’m doing - whereas for this I don’t have any rugby machines to fire a ball into the air.
“I cannot practise for this, I’ve just got to go out there and do it. I can catch, so I should be all right but catching three and holding onto three will be tough.”
Rutherford is no stranger to the oval ball game having played in his youth while his brother once had a trial with Northampton Saints but he admits he’s long since hung up his boots.
“I used to play as a wing or outside centre,” he added.
“I’ve got a brother who trialled at Saints when we were younger. He was the rugby star of our family.
“I definitely didn’t inherit the body shape - he’s much bigger than I am, width wise, not height.
“He got all the rugby genes, I received the football and athletics genes I think. Ideally I’d have my brother doing this. Put me on a track and I’ll be absolutely fine, I’ll be full of confidence and tell everyone I’m going to win.
“Put me into Wembley Stadium in front of 80,000 people shouting at a rugby game, I’m not filled with confidence because it’s not what I do. We will see what happens.”
There are still tickets left for the big match, to watch Rutherford at half time, at Wembley. Get them from Ticketmaster.
For more information about how to have fun, raise cash and change lives by entering the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games this Friday 21 to Sunday March 21, go to sportrelief.com