Saracens full back Chris Wyles’ firewalk challenge

Rugby World Cup player to perform stunt for charity

A ST ALBANS based rugby player who has recently returned from competing in the World Cup in New Zealand will be feeling the heat next Tuesday, literally.

But it won’t have anything to do with facing the opposition on the field.

Chris Wyles, fullback, wing and centre for Saracens, admits he will need nerves of steel to take on the challenge of walking barefoot over a 20ft-long bed of hot wood embers for charity.

On Tuesday, November 8, he will be joined by about 100 Saracens staff and players, some of whom will follow in his footsteps over the scorching surface, to raise funds for the Hospice of St Francis.

The partnership between the club and hospice comes after Chris’s mum, Jessica, was cared for by the charity earlier this year. Based in Berkhamsted, the charity provides care for people with life-limiting illnesses with 20 per cent of patients from the St Albans district.

Chris, in his fourth season with Saracens, played for the USA team, beating Russia, in the 2011 Rugby World Cup as he was born and lived in America for 11 years.

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Although the team did not get to face the All Blacks, Chris said nerves on the rugby field did not compare to what he felt about the prospect of walking over hot embers at a temperature of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

He added: “It is the ultimate test of mind over matter. I’m a bit nervous but it’s for a great cause, and the whole club is going to be there. I’m hoping to have a great atmosphere.”

Chris said he wasn’t able to do a practice run before next Tuesday’s challenge takes place at 4pm at Old Albanians on the Woollams playing fields but he was mentally prepared to block out the pain and, “walk straight on to the embers.”

He went on: “As a squad we want to give something back to the hospice, so have pledged to raise enough money to employ three full-time specialist nurses by staging six sponsored events over the course of the season.”

Claire de Silva, spokeswoman for the hospice, said Saracens’ willingness to undertake challenges to raise funds had been outstanding.

To sponsor Chris visit his justgiving page at: