Jonny Wilkinson retirement: With talk of World Cup hero 'calling it a day', where are the rest of the victorious 2003 squad today?
Reports claim Wilkinson has decided to hang up his boots at the end of the season, but how has that victorious 2003 World Cup winning squad got on since November 22, 2003?
Monday 24 March 2014
With Jonny Wilkinson expected to confirm his retirement at the end of the season, we take a look at where his 2003 Rugby World Cup team-mates ended up after that fateful day in Sydney.
Trevor Woodman – Last appearance came on the 2004 Tour of New Zealand. Joined the London Wasps coaching staff, before moving to Gloucester earlier this month.
Steve Thompson – Retired in April 2007 after suffering a neck injury while playing for Northampton. Joined Brive’s coaching team, and made a dramatic return to rugby in October that year with the French side. Was England’s first-choice hooker for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, but after joining Wasps that year, he suffered a second neck injury and hung up his boots for good.
Phil Vickery – Went on to captain England to the 2007 Rugby World Cup final, but was forced to retire due to a neck injury in 2010 dashing hopes of playing in a third successive World Cup.
Martin Johnson – England’s World Cup winning captain retired from international rugby immediately after the Sydney success, and played for his career-long Leicester Tigers until the 2005 Premiership final. The fairytale farewell was ruined by London Wasps though, as old adversary Lawrence Dallaglio and co had the last laugh. Became England coach in 2008 having not been head coach anywhere previous, and despite leading England to the 2011 Six Nations crown, he left after the dismal showing at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Ben Kay – Played every minute of England’s 2007 Rugby World Cup campaign, and retired from international rugby after the final defeat that year. A stalwart for Leicester until his full retirement in 2011, Kay is now a well-respected presenter for various rugby platforms, mainly BT Sport.
Richard Hill – Final appearance for England came in June 2004, while played in the First Test of the 2005 British and Irish Lions Tour before injury struck. Returned for Saracens to help steer them into the Heineken Cup, and retired after helping them reach the 2008 semi-finals in Europe.
Neil Back – Like Johnson, retired immediately after the World Cup triumph, and also like Johnson, called it a day for the Tigers after the 2005 Premiership final, although Sir Clive Woodward talked him out of retirement for the 2005 British and Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand. Went into coaching and took charge of Leeds, overseeing their promotion to the Premiership in 2009, but left in May 2011 after they were relegated. Had a stint from summer 2012 until March 2013 as forwards coach with the RaboDirect Pro12 side Edinburgh Gunners.
Lawrence Dallaglio – Took the captaincy over from Johnson, but retired internationally in August 2004 with England failing to adapt to life after the World Cup. Continued to lead Wasps to success, lifting the Premiership in 2004-05 and Heineken Cup in 2006-07. Made himself available again for England in 2005 after suffering a broken ankle on the 2005 Lions tour, and featured in the red rose until his final appearance when he came off the bench in the 2007 Rugby World Cup final. Ended his Wasps career in 2008 with the Premiership title, and has gone on to become a prominent figure in both rugby coverage and charity work.
Matt Dawson – Continued for England until 2006 when he announced his retirement for both club and country. Became a captain on BBC show A Question Of Sport, while also writing and commentating on rugby.
Jonny Wilkinson – Expected to announce that he will retire at the end of the current season. Returned from a four year absence to inspire England to the 2007 Rugby World Cup final, and made his farewell appearance in the 2011 quarter-finals. Has since taken the Toulon captaincy, and guided them to Heineken Cup success last season.
Ben Cohen – Initially dropped out of contention for England after the World Cup, a resurgence in form saw him recalled until his final England appearance in 2006. Left Northampton Saints for France in 2007, before returning to Sale Sharks in 2009 for two seasons before being released and announcing his retirement. Now front the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation in an effort to combat homophobia and bullying.
Mike Tindall – Injury and form saw him in-and-out of the England set-up for years, before being named captain for the 2011 Six Nations in Lewis Moody’s absence. Hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in New Zealand during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, in which he made his final appearance for England. Currently a player/coach with Gloucester, though his contract is up at the end of the season.
Will Greenwood – Named vice-captain after the World Cup success, and made his final appearance for England in November 2004 before he was ruled out of the 2005 Six Nations. Made two appearances for the Lions in 2005, and helped Harlequins gain promotion back to the Premiership before retiring that summer. Has since gone on to become a leading rugby analyst and writer, demonstrating the same passion he became famous for on the pitch.
Robinson made a return to England in 2007 for the Rugby World Cup in France Jason Robinson – England World Cup final try-scoring hero was briefly named England captain before retiring in 2005. Brian Ashton lured him out of retirement to feature in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, having led Sale to Premiership glory the season before. Retired after the tournament in France, but made a surprise announcement in 2010 when he joined Fylde in National League Two North, helping them achieve promotion.
Josh Lewsey – Played for England through to the 2007 Rugby World Cup but missed the final after suffering a hamstring injury. Retired fully in 2009 with a desire to climb Mount Everest (which was thwarted 500m from the summit) and is currently Wales’ head of rugby.
Dorian West – Retired from international duty after the World Cup, and from club rugby at the end of the season in 2004. Now a part of Jim Mallinder’s coaching team at Northampton.
Jason Leonard – Ended his 14-year England career with his 116th and final cap in the 2004 Six Nations. Went into the construction business at the end of that season and has also continued his work with both charities and after-dinner speaking.
Martin Corry – Captain under Andy Robinson, Corry was maintained in the England squad until the 2007 Rugby World Cup final. Retired from international rugby after, and continued to captain Leicester until his retirement in 2009. Now helps develop the rugby community to bring through the sport at school level.
Lewis Moody – Named England captain under former team-mate Martin Johnson but saw his latter years in the red rose blighted by injury. Recovered to lead England in the 2011 Rugby World Cup when he announced his retirement on the eve of the final, and a shoulder injury brought his club career to a premature end in March 2012. Has worked as a rugby analyst as well as a columnist for The Independent.
Kyran Bracken – Continued to play for Saracens for three years until his retirement in 2006. Went on to find fame on ITV’s Dancing on Ice, and has continued his ice skating commitments since winning the reality show.
Mike Catt – After leaving Bath, Catt had resurgence in form with London Irish which led to an England recall for the 2007 Rugby World Cup final, becoming the oldest player to feature in the final in the process. After retiring for good in 2010, Catt continued his work with the Exiles’ coaching staff before becoming part of Stuart Lancaster’s current England set-up.
Mike Catt became the catalyst for England's 2003 World Cup triumph when he outwitted the Welsh in the quarter-final Iain Balshaw – His last England cap came in 2008 after featuring intermittently on the international stage, but continues his club career with Biarritz with whom he has been a part of since 2009.
Stuart Abbott – Hampered by injuries, Abbott had success with Wasps, before he was forced to retire on medical grounds. Went in to coaching with Rosslyn Park.
Dan Lugar – Didn’t play for England again as he headed for pastures new in France, enjoying spells with Perpignan, Toulon and Nice before retiring in 2010.
Paul Grayson – Played his final England match in March 2004, and retired from Northampton Saints duty the following year when he joined their backroom staff. Left Saints in November 2012.
Andy Gomarsall – Resurgence with Harlequins saw him go into the 2007 Rugby World Cup as the number one choice scrum-half. Played in the ensuing Six Nations matches but was dropped after the second, and retired after a stint with Leeds in 2010. Now a director with his father’s business.
Danny Grewcock – Suspension blighted his career, meaning he missed the 2007 Rugby World Cup through a ban. Didn’t play again for England after, but continued with Bath until 2011 when he retired.
Veteran lock Shaw in action at the 2011 Rugby World Cup Simon Shaw – Helped Toulon to their Heineken Cup success last season. Was believed to have 'agreed' a one-year extension, but has not played for any club this season. No official retirement announcement.
Julian White – Started all three Tests on the 2005 Lions Tour, and was recalled to the England squad in 2009, two years after his last appearance after making himself unavailable for the 2007 World Cup. Retired from international rugby later that year, and ended his illustrious Leicester career in 2012 to focus on his farm.
Mark Regan – Another to experience a resurgence after his retirement in 2004 from international rugby, Regan returned for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He went on to play in the following Six Nations in 2008 before being dropped after the win over France, and retired from rugby with Bristol in 2009.
Joe Worsley – His try-saving tap-tackle defined his career in the 2007 Rugby World Cup semi-final victory over France, with his work ethic seeing him a regular in the England squad. A neck injury ultimately cost him a place in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and later forced him to retire in November that year. Currently the defence coach with Bordeaux Beagles.
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