English Rugby
England's Heroes: Where are they now?
ESPNscrum Staff
October 29, 2010
Phil Vickery and Lawrence Dallaglio parade the Rugby World Cup in 2003 © Getty Images

With the news of Phil Vickery's retirement, we take a look at where his fellow Rugby World Cup winners have ended up after their moment in the sun in Sydney seven years ago.


Josh Lewsey: Continued as an important part of the Wasps and England set-up until announcing his retirement from international rugby in December 2008. Scored the try that saw England past France and into the 2007 World Cup final, but injury ruled him out of his second final and he was subsequently left out of Brian Ashton's squad for the 2008 Six Nations. Following his retirement, Lewsey attempted to climb Mount Everest but was forced to abandon the venture after his his breathing apparatus failed.

Jason Robinson: Hung up his international boots in 2005 after touring with the Lions, but was coaxed out of retirement by Brian Ashton before starring in England's run to the 2007 World Cup final. Made his final international appearance for the Barbarians against South Africa before giving up the game for good at the end of the 2007-08 season. Was coaxed back onto a rugby field as coach of his former club, Sale, but left at the end of the 2009-10 season. Now occasionally straps his boots on for Fylde.

Will Greenwood: Toured with the Lions in 2005 before retiring from the game after helping long-time club Harlequins to promotion back into the Premiership from National Division One. Has since forged a successful career as a television pundit with Sky and ITV.

Mike Tindall: Made the switch from Bath to Gloucester and became an important leader for England before a broken leg ruled him out of the 2007 World Cup. Tindall suffered a torn liver and punctured lung in a freak collision with Wales full-back Lee Byrne in their Six Nations match at Twickenham in February 2008. Upon his return to fitness Tindall signed a new deal with Gloucester, and after a struggle regained his place as England's first-choice outside-centre in 2010.

Ben Cohen: Cohen experienced a dip in form after the World Cup, admitting that his appetite for the game had slipped. Toured with England in 2007 with a view to the World Cup, but then ruled himself out of the tournament to spend time with his pregnant wife. Sought release from his Northampton contract upon the club's relegation in 2007, moving to play for Brive in the Top 14. After two seasons in France he hopped back across the channel to join Sale.

Jonny Wilkinson: Endured years of injury misery after his drop-goal won the World Cup. Three separate shoulder injuries, a lacerated kidney, neck problems, adductor muscle and appendix issues and a dislocated kneecap all halted his progress at Newcastle before he set sail for sunnier climes in 2009 by signing for Top 14 side Toulon, where he has been a major success.

Matt Dawson: Moved to Wasps from Northampton before retiring from the game to pursue his media interests. Came second in the BBC's reality dancing show Strictly Come Dancing behind cricketer Mark Ramprakash before winning Celebrity Masterchef. Occasionally commentates on rugby for Radio Five Live and is a team captain on A Question of Sport.


Trevor Woodman: Forced to retire due to a back injury sustained in training in 2005, having moved from Gloucester to Sale in 2004. Took up a role as scrummaging coach with Sydney University before being snapped up by Premiership side Wasps in the same role.

Steve Thompson: Forced to retire on medical advice after damaging his spinal cord in 2007, but was subsequently passed fit to return to action. Thompson took up a contract with French Top 14 side Brive, alongside former Northampton colleague Cohen, eventually winning an England recall before returning to the Premiership with Leeds.

Phil Vickery: Captained England under Brian Ashton and won a Heineken Cup with Wasps after making the switch from Gloucester in 2006. A series of back injuries disrupted Vickery's international career post-2003, but he remained an integral part of the England set-up before a further series of neck problems forced his retirement in October 2010.

Martin Johnson: England's talismanic skipper is now the man in charge at HQ after taking the reins as England manager in April 2008. While stiill a popular figure in English rugby his tenure as manager has been a bumpy ride. A chink of sunlight appeared in the summer of 2010 however, with a confidence-boosting win over Australia in Sydney.

Ben Kay: Continued to pack down for Leicester Tigers and was an ever present during England's run to the 2007 World Cup final. He called time on a glittering career in 2010 following the Tigers' Premiership win, taking up the microphone for ESPN's coverage of the competition.

Richard Hill: Battled on for Saracens until May 2008 when a knee injury ended his career. Put in an outstanding, grafting display to help Sarries defeat the Ospreys in the 2008 Heineken Cup quarter-finals. Now mentors young Saracens players part time while working as a business development manager.

Neil Back: Toured with the Lions in 2005 aged 36 before joining the coaching staff at Leicester. Has since moved on to become head coach at Leeds, taking the side into the Premiership and helping them fight off relegation in the 2009-10 season.

Lawrence Dallaglio: Captained England following Martin Johnson's retirement before calling time on his international career in 2004. Selection for the 2005 Lions brought Dallaglio back into the England fold, and he helped them to the 2007 World Cup final before announcing his retirement after the tournament. He finally retired from all rugby after leading Wasps to a Premiership title in front of a packed house at Twickenham in May 2008. In November 2008 Dallaglio was announced as a Director at Wasps.


Dorian West: West was unfortunate not to make the field during the final and after his retirement he became Northampton Saints' forwards coach alongside Jim Mallinder.

Jason Leonard: England's most-capped player finally hung up his boots after winning his 114th cap against Italy in the 2004 Six Nations. Now works in the construction industry alongside his duties as a member of the Professional Game Board.

Martin Corry: Skippered England through a rough patch in the 2005 and 2006 Six Nations before retiring from international rugby following the 2007 World Cup. Retired from all rugby in 2009 after a spell as captain of the Barbarians, including a win over England at Twickenham.

Lewis Moody: Remained an important part of the England setup and was rewarded with the captaincy for their summer tour to Australia in 2010. Agreed a move away from long-time club Leicester to fierce rivals Bath at the start of the 2009-10 season.

Kyran Bracken: Retired from rugby in 2004 after a long-term back injury. Won ITV's reality show Dancing on Ice before contributing to the development of Leicester and England scrum-half Ben Youngs as a consultant.

Mike Catt: Catt soldiered on through England's run to the 2007 World Cup final before his controversial autobiography brought further scrutiny on Brian Ashton's tenure as England coach. Currently employed as London Irish's assitant coach after a successful time with the club as a player - which ended in 2010.

Iain Balshaw: After falling out of favour with England in 2008 Balshaw joined the growing exodus to France, signing for Top 14 heavyweights Biarritz.

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