Rugby World Cup Winners - A look back

Rugby World Cup winners - where are they now?

The winning campaign of the 2003 Rugby World Cup was one of the biggest sporting events that England has seen in a long time - and we can hardly believe that it was more than a decade ago. With a poor track-record in team sports over the last couple of decades, the win represented the biggest sporting victory that England had achieved perhaps even since the 1966 Football World Cup.

Since then, of course, we’ve had two wildly successful Olympic Games and a couple of wins of the Ashes too, so some of the UK’s sporting shame has been mitigated - but it’s hard to understate just what a badly needed win the World Cup was for the British public at the time.

The team was the favorite going into the competition after a string of victories which included a grand slam in the Six Nations tournament, wins over Australia and New Zealand and an absolute drubbing of South Africa in the run up to the tournament.

The final saw home team Australia face England, and despite the Aussies putting up a good fight, England became the first team from the Northern Hemisphere ever to win the Webb Ellis Cup awarded to the champions.

England’s rugby team was treated as homecoming heroes on their return, but many have now retired and faded from the public eye; so what did they contribute and where are they now?

Will Greenwood

This unsung hero of the England team, Will Greenwood played at inside and outside centre, and when he wasn’t part of the international squad, played for Harlequins and Leicester Tigers.

During the tournament he formed partnerships with Mike Tindall and Mike Catt and finished the tournament as joint top try scorer, having achieved an impressive five.

He played in all but one of the team’s matches during the tournament, only missing one because he had to fly home to tend to his wife, who was heavily pregnant and unwell. One of his best moments of the campaign was in the quarter-finals against Wales, when his try helped to turn the match around in England’s favour.

He retired from professional rugby in 2006 and these days works as an analyst for Sky Sports, as well as writing a column for the Telegraph and doing a spot of TV presenting. He’s also available as a charismatic and charming after dinner speaker - the Will Greenwood agent is celebrity agency MN2S, where he’s available for all sorts of engagements.

Johnny Wilkinson

The standout star of the 2003 Rugby World Cup, it was Johnny Wilkinson who kicked the winning drop goal in the last minute of extra time in the final match - to date, one of the most nail-biting moments ever for English sports fans.

Considered one of the best players in the world at the time, Wilkinson’s legendary kicking skills helped him to earn more than half of the points that the England team accrued in almost every match of the tournament - 113 in total.

Since the career highlight, he has been anointed CBE and named the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year. In 2011 he retired from professional rugby and a couple of years later married his long-term girlfriend; generally he keeps a low profile and seems to enjoy being able to watch from the sidelines!

Danny Grewcock

During a long career, Danny played for some of the UK’s best rugby teams, including Coventry, Saracens and Bath, as well as for England and for the British and Irish Lions team.

The unlucky southerner suffered a toe injury early in the tournament and broke his hand in a match against Uruguay, effectively ruling him out of much of the competition, though his contribution in that match did help England to win the match. He was nonetheless awarded a MBE for services to sport following the historic win.  

Since retiring in 2011, Grewcock has worked as academy director for his old team, Bath, and more recently has moved to become director of sport at the prestigious - and pricey - Oundle School in Northamptonshire.


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