Rugby World Cup final build-up: Where are the England heroes of 2003?

Champions: England celebrate winning the World Cup in 2003.
Champions: England celebrate winning the World Cup in 2003.
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England’s solitary Rugby World Cup win came courtesy of their 20-17 extra-time victory over Australia in 2003.

Here, we take a look at where the heroes from 16 years ago are now as Eddie Jones’s side bid to match their triumph in Japan on Saturday.

Full back, Josh Lewsey: Retired from playing in 2009. Was head of rugby at the Welsh Rugby Union before resigning for personal reasons in 2015 and now works in the financial sector.

Right wing, Jason Robinson: Leeds-born scorer of England’s try in Sydney, he retired in 2011 and is now a brand ambassador for a number of companies while retaining his links with rugby league as a Man of Steel selector.

Outside centre, Mike Tindall: The last of the class of 2003 to hang up his boots in 2014. Married the Queen’s oldest granddaughter, Zara Phillips, in 2011. Yorkshireman briefly coached at his old club Gloucester.

Inside centre, Will Greenwood: Lancastrian who played over 250 games for Harlequins and Leicester. He quit the game in 2006 for a career in the media. Greenwood is an established, high-profile pundit on Sky Sports with his own rugby podcast.

Right wing, Ben Cohen: Prolific try-scorer who hung up his boots in 2011 to create the StandUp Foundation which combats homophobia and bullying. Also appeared on Strictly Come Dancing and recently revealed he suffered from hearing loss and tinnitus throughout his playing career and is clinically deaf.

Fly-half, Jonny Wilkinson: Forever remember as the man who kicked the winning drop goal, he left Newcastle after 12 years and helped French club Toulon to back-to-back European Cup triumphs before hanging up his boots in 2014. Now a studio pundit for ITV Sport, working on the World Cup.

Scrum-half, Matt Dawson: Retired from rugby in 2006 after a distinguished career with Northampton and Wasps to work for the BBC. A long-standing captain on A Question of Sport and another to compete on Strictly.

Loose-head prop, Trevor Woodman: Career ended by injury not long after World Cup triumph. Moved into coaching, first in Australia, then with Wasps. Now scrum coach at Gloucester.

Hooker, Steve Thompson: Retired in 2007 due to a neck injury but made a comeback later that year and went on to a second World Cup in 2011. Now based in Dubai, where he is a business development executive and works as a rugby analyst for the UAE.

Tight-head prop, Phil Vickery: Played every game in 2003 and captained England four years later before injury ended his career. Won the 2011 series of Celebrity Masterchef and was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Gloucestershire in 2015.

Lock, Martin Johnson: The Lions captain who lifted the World Cup in 2003, he retired in 2005 and went on to manage the national team from 2008-11 before quitting after dismal 2011 World Cup campaign. A motivational speaker and now heavily into cycling.

Lock, Ben Kay: Johnson’s second-row partner for club (Leicester) and country who retired in 2010 and is now a highly regarded pundit/commentator and has been on the board of directors at Leicester since 2014.

Blindside flanker, Richard Hill: Dubbed the “silent assassin”, he was the only player never to have been dropped during Clive Woodward’s England tenure. Finally succumbed to injury in 2008, he is now England team manager and has mentored flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill since they were 15.

Openside flanker, Neil Back: Started all but one game of his third World Cup, retired in 2005 and went on to coach at Leicester, Leeds and Edinburgh before quitting in 2013 to work in the business sector.

No 8, Lawrence Dallaglio: Former England captain and colossus who has worked in the media since retiring from playing in 2008. He is a pundit for BT Sport, launched a sports marketing agency in 2014 and is spearheading a five-a-side version of the game called Rugby X.

Replacements:

16. Dorian West, hooker: Never got onto the pitch in the 2003 final. Retired in 2004 and is forwards coach at Sale.

17. Jason Leonard, front-row: Since retirement in 2004, remained heavily involved in rugby. He was president of the RFU in 2015-2016 and is on the board for both the Six Nations and the British & Irish Lions.

18. Martin Corry, lock: Did not get on in the final. Quit the game in 2009 and is a motivational speaker.

19. Lewis Moody, flanker: Introduced in extra-time in the final. Retired in 2012 but tried his hand at American Football this year at the age of 41.

20. Kyran Bracken, scrum-half: Unused in the final. Retired in 2006 and won ITV’s Dancing on Ice in 2007.

21. Mike Catt, fly-half: Hung up his boots in 2010 and will join Ireland’s backroom staff under Andy Farrell after the World Cup.

22. Iain Balshaw, full-back or wing: Retired in 2014 due to serious knee injury, now speaking on after-dinner circuit.

Coach, Sir Clive Woodward: Centre with Leicester as a player, he was England coach from 1997-2004 and took the 2015 Lions to New Zealand where they lost all three Tests. In 2005 became performance director at Southampton FC but left after a year and is working as a pundit for ITV at the World Cup.