Full name William John Heaton Greenwood
Born October 20, 1972, Blackburn
Current age 43 years 283 days
Major teams British and Irish Lions, Harlequins, Leicester Tigers, England
Height 6 ft 4 in
Weight 222 lb
Relations Father - JRH Greenwood
|British and Irish Lions||2005-2005||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0.00|
|IRB Rugby World Cup||1999-2003||10||9||1||35||7||0||0||0||9||1||0||90.00|
|Test debut||England v Australia at Twickenham, Nov 15, 1997 match details|
|Last Test||New Zealand v British and Irish Lions at Auckland, Jul 9, 2005 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Will Greenwood followed his father Dick into an England shirt. While his father was a prickly back row player, the younger Greenwood was one of the finest centres to grace the England midfield.
His path to greatness with England was not a straightforward one, with several false starts in his career halting his progress even if the natural ability was always apparent. Greenwood began his career with Harlequins in London, having moved there from Lancashire to work as a trader with Midland Global Markets (now HSBC).
His early career changed with the advent of professionalism, as he left Harlequins for Leicester in 1996. He helped them on their way to a Pilkington Cup victory and a European Cup final before being selected as the uncapped player for the 1997 British Lions tour to South Africa.
Greenwood's tour would end in near disaster as he swallowed his tongue following a heavy collision during a tour match. Greenwood was unable to take part in any test matches on the tour, but was rewarded with his first England cap by Clive Woodward the following season.
Greenwood was a hugely dangerous presence in any midfield, with an uncanny knack for crossing the whitewash. Deceptively quick and rangy, Greenwood was able to sense space forming in an opposition backline, often exploiting it by breaking the line himself or freeing the arms to release a team-mate.
His introduction into the England team coincided with the beginning of their rise to greatness that culminated in the 2003 Rugby World Cup. There was first disappointment at the 1999 World Cup, when Jannie De Beer's five drop goals ended England's involvement at the quarter final stage.
The following season Greenwood returned to Harlequins, securing the Tetley's Bitter Cup and victory over Narbonne in the final of the European Shield in his first season.
Greenwood was then a part of the England teams that took home Six Nations championships in 2000 and 2001. It was with the Grand Slam in 2003 that Greenwood and his England team began their ascent into the history books.
It was at the 2003 World Cup that Greenwood's career undoubtedly peaked. His tries in crucial fixtures against Wales and South Africa paved the way for England's march to the final. During the latter stages of the tournament Greenwood chose to fly back to London to be with his wife, who was experiencing difficulties in her pregnancy. His dilemma was well documented in the press, with his willingness to give up personal glory reflecting the personality that won him so many fans amongst players and supporters.
Fortunately, all was well with his wife and child and Greenwood returned ahead of the final. Images of Greenwood jumping for joy following Jonny Wilkinson's wining drop goal were broadcast around the world, a glorious end to what could have been a tragic story. Greenwood returned to England with a winners medal and the joint top try-scoring honour.
Following the World Cup Greenwood was appointed as vice captain under Lawrence Dallaglio, and played all of England's 2004 Six Nations games. He won his final England cap in November 2004 against Australia, and while injury ruled him out of the 2005 Six Nations he was selected for his third Lions tour in 2005.
Greenwood made two test appearances on the ill fated tour, and retired from all rugby after helping Harlequins to promotion back into the Premiership later that season. Since his retirement from playing he has become a popular and successful television pundit, a role that he has attacked with the same verve and commitment that was apparent during his playing career.
Scrum Staff October 2008