Sacha Harding has posed nude for Gay Times magazine to support Sir Elton John’s AIDS charity campaign.

The magazine teamed up with the Elton John AIDS Foundation for its annual ‘Naked Issue’ which features 54 men.

Bedford Blues flanker Harding said: “AIDS is such a devastating disease for so many people around the world and I was honored to get this opportunity to try and do my part to help raise awareness of the disease and ultimately save lives.

“I know I’m going to get some stick from the lads at Bedford but it’s all good fun and the whole campaign has a very serious message which needs promoting.”

Last week, Bradford Bulls player Elliott Whitehead was issued with a warning by his club for his Facebook comments about a former team mate’s appearance on the cover of gay Australian magazine DNA.

In 2010, Harding was voted Britain’s ‘manliest man’ in a competition organised by The Bluebeards Revenge.

Gay Times’ editor Darren Scott said: “It’s an absolute joy to have a straight rugby player be so willing to take part in a shoot for Britain’s longest-running gay magazine.”

The Elton John Aids Foundation supports innovative HIV prevention programmes, efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination, and direct care and services for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Earlier this year, Elton John announced he would be suing a banker who promised £700,000 at an auction for the Foundation, but had not paid up.

January’s Naked Issue of Gay Times magazine featuring Sacha Harding is on sale from today.