England national rugby union team

England national rugby union team

Rugby team
country = England

union = Rugby Football Union
nickname = The Red and Whites
emblem = Red Rose
ground = Twickenham
captain = Steve Borthwick
coach = flagicon|England Martin Johnson
caps = Jason Leonard (114) [Leonard's five caps for the British and Irish Lions are not included.]
top scorer = Jonny Wilkinson (1023) [Points here exclude those Wilkinson has scored for the British and Irish Lions.] cite web |url=http://www.england-rugby.com/englandrugby/index.cfm?fuseaction=News.News_Detail&storyid=4198
title=Jonny Wilkinson OBE England Profile |publisher=england-rugby.com |accessdate=2008-02-15 |date=2008-02-11
most tries = Rory Underwood (49)
pattern_la1= |pattern_b1=_red_streak |pattern_ra1= |pattern_so1=
leftarm1=FFFFFF |body1=FF0000 |rightarm1=FFFFFF
shorts1=FFFFFF |socks1=FFFFFF
pattern_la2= |pattern_b2=_white_streak |pattern_ra2= |pattern_so2=
leftarm2=FFFFFF |body2=ED2025 |rightarm2=ED2025
shorts2=ED2025 |socks2=ED2025
first = ("also the world's first") ru|SCO 4–1 ru-rt|ENG
(27 March 1871)
bigwin = ru|ENG 134–0 ru-rt|ROU
(17 November 2001)
bigloss = ru|AUS 76–0 ru-rt|ENG
(6 June 1998)
World cup apps = 6
year = 1987
best = Champions, 2003
The England national rugby union team represents England in rugby union. They compete in the annual Six Nations Championship with France, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, and Wales. They have won this championship on 25 occasions, 12 times winning the Grand Slam. England also compete for the Calcutta Cup with Scotland as part of the Six Nations. England are ranked fifth in the world by the International Rugby Board as at 9 June 2008. They won the Rugby World Cup in 2003 and finished runner-up in 1991 and 2007.

The history of the team extends back to 1871 when the English rugby team played their first official Test match, losing to Scotland by one try. England dominated the early Home Nations Championship (now the Six Nations) which started in 1883. Following the schism of rugby football in 1895, England did not win the Championship again until 1910. England first played against New Zealand (the "All Blacks") in 1905, South Africa in 1906, and Australia in 1909. England was one of the teams invited to take part in the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 and went on to appear in the final in the second cup in 1991 only to be defeated by Australia. Following their 2003 Six Nations Grand Slam, England won that year's World Cup — beating Australia 20–17 in extra time. They also contested the final in 2007 but finished as runners up, losing 15–6 to South Africa.

England players traditionally wear white shorts, navy socks (although they are now white and red) with white tops, and a white shirt with a red rose embroidered on it, and for the first time in the English rugby team's history, their away shirt is red (up until recently, navy blue has been the traditional colour). Their home ground is Twickenham Stadium where they first played in 1910. The team is administered by the Rugby Football Union (RFU). Four former players have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.


The expansion of rugby in the first half of the 19th century was driven by ex-pupils from many of England's Public Schools, especially Rugby, who, upon finishing school, took the game with them to universities, to London, and to the counties.cite web| url=http://www.rugbyfootballhistory.com/originsofrugby.htm |title=Origins of Rugby |publisher=rugbyfootballhistory.com |accessdate=2007-02-16] England's first international match was against Scotland on Monday 27 March 1871.cite web| url=http://www.rfu.com/microsites/museum/index.cfm?fuseaction=faqs.history |title=Short history of rugby |publisher=rfu.com |accessdate=2007-02-16] Not only was this match England's first, but it also proved to be the first ever rugby union international. Scotland won the match with two tries and a conversion to one try; a 4–1 victory in front of a crowd of 4,000 people at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh.cite web |url=http://www.rugbyfootballhistory.com/timeline1870s.htm |title=Historical Rugby Milestones - 1870s |publisher=rugbyfootballhistory.com |accessdate=2007-02-16] A subsequent international took place at the Oval in London which saw England defeat Scotland 8–3.cite web| url=http://www.rugbydata.com/england/scotland/gamesplayed/9 |title=England vs Scotland > Games Played |publisher=rugbydata.com |accessdate=2006-02-16] cite web| url=http://www.rugbydata.com/england/scotland/game/1872/02/05 | title=5 February 1872 - The Oval, London, England |publisher=rugbydata.com |accessdate=2007-02-16]

In 1875, England played their first game against the Irish at the Oval, winning 7–0; the match was Ireland's first ever Test.cite web| url=http://www.rugbydata.com/england/ireland/game/1875/02/15 |title=15 February 1875 - The Oval, London, England |publisher=rugbydata.com |accessdate=2007-02-16] cite web| url=http://www.rugbydata.com/ireland/gamesplayed/37 |title=Ireland > Games Played |publisher=rugbydata.com |accessdate=2007-02-16] England defeated Scotland in 1880 to become the first winners of the Calcutta Cup.cite web| url=http://www.rugbydata.com/england/scotland/game/1880/02/28 |title=28 February 1880 Whalley Range, Manchester, England. |publisher=rugbydata.com |accessdate=2007-02-19] cite web| url=http://www.rugbyfootballhistory.com/timeline1880s.htm |title=Historical Rugby Milestones - 1880s |publisher=rugbyfootballhistory.com |accessdate=2007-02-19] Their first match against Wales was played on 19 February 1881 at Richardson's Field in Blackheath.cite web| url=http://www.rugbydata.com/england/wales/game/1881/02/19 |title=19 February 1881 Richardsons Field, Blackheath, England. |publisher=rugbydata.com |accessdate=2007-02-19] England recorded their largest victory, defeating the Welsh 30–0 and scoring 13 tries in the process. The subsequent meeting the following year at St Helens in Swansea was a closer contest; with England winning 10–0.cite web| url=http://www.rugbydata.com/wales/england/game/1882/12/16 |title=16 December 1882 St Helens, Swansea, Wales. |publisher=rugbydata.com |accessdate=2007-02-19] Two years later, the first Home Nations championship was held and England emerged as the inaugural winners.cite web| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/international/3422419.stm |title=Six Nations roll of honour |accessdate=2007-02-19 |publisher=bbc.co.uk |date=2004-01-19] In 1889, England played their first match against a non-home nations team when they defeated the "New Zealand Natives" 7–0 at Rectory Field in Blackheath.cite web| url=http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/node/760 |title=Unsporting behaviour? - the New Zealand Natives' rugby tour of 1888/89 |accessdate=2007-02-16 |publisher=nzhistory.net.nz] cite web| url=http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/node/757 |title=Matches played - New Zealand Natives' rugby tour of 1888/89 |publisher=nzhistory.net.nz |accessdate=2007-02-16] In 1890 England shared the Home Nations trophy with Scotland.cite web| url=http://www.rugbyfootballhistory.com/6nations.htm |title=6 Nations History |publisher=rugbyfootballhistory.com |accessdate=2007-09-02]

England first played New Zealand (the All Blacks) in 1905. The All Blacks scored five tries, worth three points at this time, to win 15–0.cite web| url=http://stats.allblacks.com/teamsheet.asp?MT_ID=1079 |title=6th All Black Test : 79th All Black Game |publisher=allblacks.com |accessdate=2007-09-06] The following year, they played France for the first time, and later that year they first faced South Africa (known as the "Springboks"); James Peters was withdrawn from the England squad after the South Africans objected to playing against a black player. The match was drawn 3–3.cite web| url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/07/04/nosplit/urimperfect.xml | title=50 imperfect sporting moments | publisher=The Telegraph | accessdate=2007-07-04 |date=2007-07-04] England first played France in 1907,cite web| url=http://2rugby.com/game/4551/ |title=France vs England |publisher=2rugby.com |accessdate=2007-08-01] and Australia (known as the "Wallabies") in 1909 when they were defeated 3–9.cite web| url=http://www.rugbyfootballhistory.com/timeline1900s.htm |title=Historical Rugby Milestones 1900s |publisher=rugbyfootballhistory.com |accessdate=2007-08-01]

in front of 60,000 fans at Twickenham.cite web|url=http://stats.allblacks.com/teamsheet.asp?level1=All_Blacks&Level2=ABC&MT_ID=1199 |title=30th All Black Test : 199th All Black Game |publisher=allblacks.com |accessdate=2007-08-01]

After winning another Grand Slam in 1928, England played the Springboks in front of 70,000 spectators at Twickenham in 1931. Following the ejection of France due to professionalism in 1930, which thus reverted The Five Nations back to the Home Nations tournament,cite news| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/international/1776391.stm |date=2002-01-28| title=Six Nations history |publisher=bbc.co.uk |accessdate=2007-08-01] England went on to win the 1934 and 1937 Home Nations with a "Triple Crown", [A Triple Crown is when a Home Nation defeats the other three in one tournament.] and in 1935 achieved their first victory over the All Blacks.cite web| url=http://stats.allblacks.com/teamsheet.asp?level1=All_Blacks&Level2=ABC&MT_ID=1311 |title=52nd All Black Test: 311th All Black Game |publisher=allblacks.com |accessdate=2007-02-19] Polanski (2003), pg 38–39.]

When the Five Nations resumed with the re-admission of France in 1947 after the Second World War, England shared the championship with Wales. The early Five Nations competitions of the 1950s were unsuccessful for England, winning one match in the 1950 and 1951 championships. England toured South Africa for the first time in 1952 where they lost to the Springboks 8–3. England won the 1953 Five Nations, and followed this up with a Grand Slam in 1957, and win in 1958. England broke France's four-championship streak by winning the 1963 Championship. After this victory, England played three Tests in the Southern Hemisphere and lost all three: 21–11 and 9–6 against the All Blacks, and 18–9 against Australia.cite web|url=http://www.rugbydata.com/england/gamesplayed/22 |title=International Teams > England > Games Played |publisher=rugbydata.com |accessdate=2007-08-02 ] England did not win a single match in 1966, and managed only a draw with Ireland. They did not win another Championship that decade.

Don White was appointed as England's first-ever coach in 1969. According to former Northampton player Bob Taylor, "Don was chosen because he was the most forward-thinking coach in England". His first match in charge was an 11–8 victory over South Africa at Twickenham in 1969. Of the eleven games England played with White in charge they won three, and drew one and lost seven. He resigned as England coach in 1971.

England had wins against Southern Hemisphere teams in the 1970s; with victories over South Africa in 1972, New Zealand in 1973 and Australia in 1976. The 1972 Five Nations Championship was not completed due to the Troubles in Northern Ireland when Scotland and Wales refused to play their Five Nations away fixtures in Ireland. England played in Dublin in 1973 and were given a standing ovation lasting five minutes. After losing 18–9 at Lansdowne Road, the England captain, John Pullin famously stated, "We might not be very good but at least we turned up."cite news| url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/core/Content/displayPrintable.jhtml?xml=/sport/2006/11/12/srackf12.xml&site=2&page=0 |title= Breaking the losing streak |accessdate=2007-08-02 |publisher=telegraph.co.uk |date=2006-11-12 |last=Ackford |first=Paul]

England started the following decade with a Grand Slam victory in the 1980 Five Nations - their first for 23 years.cite web| url=http://www.directart.co.uk/mall/more.php?ProdID=7798 |title= 1980 Grand Slam by James Owen. |publisher=directart.co.uk |accessdate=2007-08-02] However in the 1983 Five Nations Championship, England failed to win a game and picked up the wooden spoon.cite news| url=http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=196312007 |title=Vandal-hit youth club gets a fresh start in new premises |publisher=edinburghnews.scotsman.com |accessdate=2007-08-02 |date=2007-02-06 |last=Mather |first=Adrian] In the first Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and Australia, England were grouped in pool A alongside Australia, Japan and the United States. England lost their first game 19–6 against Australia. They went on to defeat Japan and the United States, and met Wales in their quarter-final, losing the match 16–3.cite web| url=http://www.worldcupweb.com/WCrugby/1987.asp |title=1987 Rugby World Cup Results |publisher=worldcupweb.com |accessdate=2007-08-02]

In 1989, England won matches against Romania and Fiji, followed by victories in their first three Five Nations games of 1990. They lost to Scotland in their last game however, giving Scotland a Grand Slam. England recovered in the following year by winning their first Grand Slam since 1980. England hosted the 1991 World Cup and were in pool A, along with the All Blacks, Italy and the United States. Although they lost to the All Blacks in pool play, they qualified for a quarter-final going on to defeat France 19–10. England then defeated Scotland 9–6 to secure a place in the final against Australia which they lost 12–6.cite web| url=http://www.worldcupweb.com/WCrugby/1991.asp |title=1991 Rugby World Cup Results |publisher=worldcupweb.com |accessdate=2007-08-02]

The next year, England completed another Grand Slam and did not lose that year, including a victory over the Springboks. In the lead up to the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, England completed another Grand Slam - their third in five years. In the World Cup, England defeated Argentina, Italy and Samoa in pool play and then defeated Australia 25–22 in their quarter-final. England's semi-final was dominated by the All Blacks and featured four tries, now worth five points each, by Jonah Lomu; England lost 45–29.cite web| url=http://stats.allblacks.com/teamsheet.asp?MT_ID=1992 |title=289th All Black Test : 992nd All Black Game |publisher=allblacks.com |accessdate=2007-09-06] They then lost the third/fourth place play-off match against France.cite web| url=http://www.worldcupweb.com/WCrugby/1995.asp |title=1995 Rugby World Cup Results |publisher=worldcupweb.com |accessdate=2007-08-02]

In 1997, Clive Woodward became England's coach. That year, England drew with New Zealand at Twickenham after being heavily defeated in Manchester the week before. England toured Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in 1998. Many of the England team made themselves unavailable for the tour nicknamed the "tour from hell" where England suffered a record 76–0 defeat to the Wallabies.cite news| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/english/6703425.stm |title=How do England bounce back? |publisher=bbc.co.uk |accessdate=2007-08-02 |date=2007-06-30 |last=Hodgetts |first=Rob] In 1999 during the last ever Five Nations match, Scott Gibbs sliced through six English tackles to score in the last minute, and the last ever Five Nations title went to Scotland.

, England won the Grand Slam for the first time since 1995, followed by wins over Australia and the All Blacks in June.

Going into the 2003 World Cup, England were one of the tournament favourites.cite news| url=http://www.nzherald.co.nz/event/story.cfm?c_id=522&objectid=10459885 |title=RWC 2003: The All Blacks peak too early |publisher=nzherald.co.nz |accessdate=2007-09-02 |date=2007-08-26 |last=Paul |first=Gregor] They reached the final on 22 November 2003 against Australia and became World champions after a match-winning drop goal by Jonny Wilkinson in extra time that made the final score 20–17. On 8 December, the English team greeted 750,000 supporters on their victory parade through London before meeting Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.cite news| url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1102874,00.html |title=England 750,000, Australia nil |publisher=guardian.co.uk |accessdate=2007-09-02 |date=2003-12-09 |last=Anthony |first=Andrew]

In the 2004 Six Nations Championship, England lost to both France and Ireland and finished third.cite news| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/international/3565059.stm |title=Six Nations: End of term report |publisher=bbc.co.uk |date=2004-03-27 |accessdate=2007-02-21 |last=Moore |first=Jonathon] Sir Clive Woodward resigned on 2 September and Andy Robinson was appointed England head coach.cite news| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/international/3613610.stm |title=Woodward quits England |publisher=bbc.co.uk |date=2004-09-03 |accessdate=2007-02-21] Robinson's first Six Nations campaign in 2005 resulted in fourth place for England,cite news| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/international/4366751.stm |title=Wonderful Wales exude joy of Six |publisher=bbc.co.uk |accessdate=2007-02-21 |date=2005-03-21 |last=Palmer |first=Bryn] and although they then defeated Australia 26–16,cite news| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/international/4420364.stm |title=England 26-16 Australia |publisher=bbc.co.uk |accessdate=2007-02-21 |date=2005-11-12] the year was completed with a 23–19 loss to the All Blacks.cite news| url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml;jsessionid=3QTW31VVSRV1LQFIQMFSFF4AVCBQ0IV0?xml=/sport/2005/11/20/srengl20.xml |publisher=telegraph.co.uk |title=England's onslaught ends in gallant failure |last=Ackford |first=Paul |accessdate=2007-02-21 |date=2005-11-19]

Following their loss to South Africa in the 2006 end of year Tests,cite news| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/6177734.stm |title=England 14-25 South Africa |publisher=bbc.co.uk |accessdate=2007-02-22 |date=2006-11-25 |last=Standley |first=James] England had lost eight of their last nine Tests — their worst ever losing streak. Coach Andy Robinson resigned after this run, and attack coach Brian Ashton was appointed head coach in December 2006.cite news| url=http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/sport/archives/2006/12/21/2003341389 |title=Ashton confirmed as new England rugby head coach |publisher=taipeitimes.com |accessdate=2007-02-22 |date=2006-12-21] England started the 2007 Six Nations Championship with a Calcutta Cup victory over Scotland.cite news| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/6320339.stm |title=England 42-20 Scotland |publisher=bbc.co.uk |accessdate=2007-02-22 |date=2007-02-03 |last=Harlow |first=Phil] The championship also included a historic match at Croke Park against Ireland which England lost 43–13, their heaviest ever defeat to Ireland.cite news| title=England suffer record defeat |publisher=telegraph.co.uk |url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/02/24/urrup24.xml |accessdate=2007-09-06 |date=2007-02-24]

In the 2007 World Cup England played in Pool A with Samoa, Tonga, South Africa and the United States. They qualified for the quarter finals where they defeated Australia 12–10, and then faced hosts France in their semi final. England won 14–9 to qualify for the final against South Africa, which they lost 15-6.


Up until 1910, the English rugby team used various stadia in a number of venues around England before settling at Twickenham Stadium. [cite web| url=http://2rugby.com/game/4658/ |title=England vs Ireland |publisher=2rugby.com |accessdate=2007-08-15] [cite web| url=http://2rugby.com/game/4623/ |title=England vs Scotland |publisher=2rugby.com |accessdate=2007-08-15] After sell-out matches at Crystal Palace in 1905 and 1906 against New Zealand and South Africa respectively, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) decided to invest in their own ground. In 1906, the RFU arranged for William Williams to find a home ground for English Rugby. The land for the ground was purchased the following year for £5,572 12s and 6d, and construction began the following year.cite web| url=http://www.rfu.com/microsites/museum/index.cfm?fuseaction=faqs.twickenham |title=A History of Twickenham Stadium |publisher=rfu.com |accessdate=2007-07-27]

The first England match was held on 9 October 1910 between England and Wales. England ran out winners, 11–6, beating Wales for the first time since 1898.cite web| url=http://www.twickenham-museum.org.uk/detail.asp?ContentID=225 |publisher=twickenham-museum.org.uk |accessdate=2007-07-31 |title=The Rugby ground] The stadium was expanded in 1927 and again in 1932. Further upgrades did not happen until the 1990s when new North, East and West stands were built. A new South stand was built in 2005 and 2006 to make the stadium into a complete bowl. The first match to be played at the redeveloped Twickenham was on Sunday 5 November 2006 against the All Blacks.cite news| url=http://www2.rugbynetwork.net/main/s245/st106836.htm |title=England v New Zealand Celebration Match Twickenham |publisher=rugbynetwork.net |date=2006-10-29 |last=Price |first=Sally |accessdate=2007-07-31] England lost the match 20–41 in front of a record crowd of 82,076.cite news| url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2006/11/06/nosplit/srengl06.xml |title= Ruthless All Blacks make England pay |publisher=telegraph.co.uk |last=Cleary |first=Mick |date=2006-11-07 |accessdate=2007-07-31]

Although England have played home matches almost exclusively at Twickenham since 1910, they have played at Huddersfield's Galpharm Stadium twice in 1998, and at Old Trafford against New Zealand in 1997 and at Wembley Stadium against Canada in 1992.cite news| title=Eeh-bah-scrum, Woody;Rugby Union |publisher=The Sun |date=1997-12-09 |page=29] cite news| title=England not good enough |publisher=The Sunday Times |last=Jones |first=Stephen |date=1998-11-22]

wing Low, Sweet Chariot

"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is very commonly sung at England fixtures — especially at Twickenham. The song was first sung during the final Five Nations match of 1988, against Ireland. England were losing 3–0 at half time, but in the second half scored six tries to win 35–3. Three of the tries were scored by Chris Oti, a black player winning his second England cap but making his Twickenham debut. A group from Douai School began singing the gospel hymn "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" – as they did for their first XV – in honour of Oti and the whole crowd joined in. From then on, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot became synonymous with Twickenham and the England team.cite web| url=http://www.rfu.com/microsites/museum/index.cfm?fuseaction=faqs.slsc |title=Swing Low, Sweet Chariot |publisher=rfu.com |accessdate=2007-08-01] [Oliver Price [http://observer.guardian.co.uk/osm/story/0,,1699545,00.html Blood, mud and aftershave] in The Observer Sunday 5 February 2006, Section "O is for Oti"] [Staff, [http://www.everyhit.com/stories/swing_low_sweet_chariot.html The story behind ... "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and how it became a rugby anthem] , [http://www.everyhit.com/about.html everyHit.com] ]


England plays in white shirts, white shorts and navy socks with white tops. The emblem on the shirts is a red rose, rather than the Plantagenet Three Lions displayed on the shirts of the England football and England cricket teams. The strip is manufactured by Nike and O2 is the shirt sponsor.cite web| url=http://www.rfu.com/therugbystore/browse.asp?groupguid=4 |publisher=rfu.com/therugbystore/ |title=The Rugby Store |accessdate=2007-09-06] Red is the change strip, although prior to the introduction of the red strip, navy blue was used.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) had created the national side's emblem prior to an English team being sent to Edinburgh to play a Scottish side. A red rose was chosen to be the side’s emblem.cite web | url=http://www.sportnetwork.net/main/s245/st74325.htm | title=England's Rose - The Official History | author=By the Museum of Rugby, Twickenham |date=3 June 2005 | publisher=Unofficial England Rugby Union | accessdate=2007-02-15] The white kit worn by the national team was taken from the kit used at Rugby School. Alfred Wright, an employee of the Rugby Football Union, is credited with the standardisation and new design of the rose, which up until 1920 had undergone many variations in its depiction. The Wright design is thought to have been used without minor alteration until the late 1990s. It was not until 1997 that the rose was modernised when Nike became the official strip supplier.

In 2003 England first used a skin-tight strip. This was intended to make it more difficult for the opposition to grasp the shirt when tackling.cite news| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/international/3190313.stm |title= England trial World Cup kit |publisher=bbc.co.uk |accessdate=2007-09-06 |date=2003-08-29] The home and away strips for 2007 were unveiled on 15 May that year. The materials used are superior, offering improved performance to the 2003 kit. However, a sweeping red mark on the base-white front which forms St George's Cross on the top left, and a changed away-strip (dark blue to red), have received criticism because it is felt that emphasis has been placed on St George's Cross at the expense of the traditional red rose.cite news| url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/sport/rugby.html?in_article_id=454438&in_page_id=1780 |title=Seeing red over England's new World Cup shirt |publisher=dailymail.co.uk |accessdate=2007-07-04 |date=2007-05-13] The new strip was introduced in England's home game against Wales on 4 August, while the alternative strip was first used against France on 18 August.cite web| url=http://www.rfu.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/RFUHome.England_Detail/StoryID/16858 |title=New England Nike Rugby Kit Launched |publisher=rfu.com |accessdate=2007-07-04 |date=2007-05-15]


ix Nations

England's only annual tournament is the Six Nations Championship, which is played against five other European nations: France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. The Six Nations started out as the Home Nations Championship in 1883 which England won with a Triple Crown. England have won the title more times than any other nation by winning it outright 25 times, and sharing victory ten times. Their longest wait between championships was 18 years (1892–1910). During the Six Nations, England also contests the Calcutta Cup with Scotland (which England first won in 1880) and the Millennium Trophy with Ireland (which England first won in 1988). The matches between England and France are traditionally known as "Le Crunch."

World Cup

England have contested every Rugby World Cup since it began in 1987, reaching the final three times and winning it once in 2003.

In the inaugural tournament they finished second in their pool before losing to Wales in the quarter-finals. They again finished pool runners-up in 1991 but recovered to beat France in their quarter-final, and then Scotland in their semi-final, en-route to 12–16 final defeat to Australia.

In 1995 England topped their group and defeated Australia 25–22 at the quarter-final stage before being beaten by the All Blacks in the semi-final. Their third-fourth place play-off match against France was lost 19–9.

The 1999 competition saw England again finish second in the group stage. Though they proceeded to win a play-off game against Fiji they went out of the tournament in the quarter-finals, losing 44–21 to South Africa.

England exacted revenge over South Africa in the early stages of the 2003 tournament, winning 25–6 to qualify for the knockout stages as winners of Pool C. They defeated Wales in their quarter-final, before a subsequent semi-final victory against the French earned them a place in the final in Sydney. After a tense match and a 20 minute period of extra time after Johnny Wilkinson kicked over the magic drop goal, England triumphed 20–17 over Australia to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.

The 2007 defence of the cup in France got off to a poor start, with a below par victory over the United States and a heavy 36–0 defeat to South Africa leaving the holders on the brink of elimination at the group stage. Improved performances against Samoa and Tonga saw England again reach the knockout stages as pool runners-up, before a surprise 12–10 defeat of Australia in Marseille and a narrow 14–9 victory over the host nation France carried England to a second successive final appearance. The final was played in Paris on 20 October against South Africa, who won by 15 points to 6.

England's Jonny Wilkinson became the highest overall points scorer in World Cup history when he kicked all 12 points in England's quarter-final victory over Australia in 2007. He kicked a further 9 points (including a convert|40|yd|m|-1|sing=on drop goal) in the semi final and 6 in the final defeat to South Africa.cite web| url=http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/statistics/season=0/type=Points/team=0/player=0/statistics/index.html |title=Player Statistics |publisher=rugbyworldcup.com |accessdate=2007-07-09] England have the fourth most points in World Cup history with 957, and the highest number of drop-goals (18).cite web| url=http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/statistics/season=0/type=Points/team=0/statistics/index.html |title=Team Statistics |publisher=rugbyworldcup.com |accessdate=2007-07-09]


England have won 322 of their 606 Test matches, a winning record of 53.14%.cite web|url=http://www.rugbydata.com/england |title=International Rugby Union Statistics |publisher=rugbydata.com |accessdate=2007-09-29] When the World Rankings were introduced in October 2003, England were ranked first. They briefly fell to second in September that year before regaining first place. They fell to second, and then to third in June 2004. After the 2005 Six Nations they fell to sixth where they remained until they moved into fifth in December that year. In 2006, their ranking again fell and they finished the year ranked seventh. They are ranked fifth, behind South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina and Australia as of 11 April 2008.cite web| url=http://www.irb.com/rankings/index.html |title=World Rankings |publisher=International Rugby Board |accessdate=2008-02-26]

Their Test record against all nations, updated 2008-07-04: [This table excludes matches played against the Barbarians and New Zealand Maori as they are not full representative teams.]

IRB World Ranking Leaders
IRB World Ranking leaders

Notable players

Four former England representatives have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame: Bill Beaumont, Martin Johnson, Jason Leonard, and Wavell Wakefield.cite news| url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml;jsessionid=KMEHLYV0OCGYBQFIQMGSFFOAVCBQWIV0?xml=/sport/2005/11/17/srgall17.xml&sSheet=/sport/2005/11/19/ixrugu.html#1 |title=Joining the legends an added bonus for Wood |publisher=telegraph.co.uk |date=2005-11-17 |accessdate=2007-09-06 |last=Gallagher |first=Brendan] cite web|url=http://www.rugbyhalloffame.com/pages/2007dinner.htm |title=Sixth Induction Dinner - 2007 |publisher=International Rugby Hall of Fame |accessdate=2007-10-03]

Wavell Wakefield represented England in 31 Tests between 1920 and 1927, including 13 Tests as captain. He was involved in three Five Nations Grand Slams in 1921, 1923 and 1924. Playing as Flanker, Wakefield introduced new elements to back row tactics which beforehand concentrated on the set piece. He became a Member of Parliament in 1935, and was knighted in 1944. He became the RFU President in 1950 and following his retirement from politics was awarded the title the first Baron Wakefield of Kendal.cite web| url=http://www.rugbyhalloffame.com/pages/wakefield1999.htm |title=Wavell Wakefield |publisher=rugbyhalloffame.com |accessdate=2007-07-14]

Between 1975 and 1982, Bill Beaumont represented England in 34 Tests. Playing at Lock, he was captain between 1978 and 1982 in 21 Tests including the 1980 Grand Slam — England's first since 1957. Later that year, he captained the British Lions to South Africa - the first time an Englishman had captained the Lions since 1930. Furthermore, Beaumont represented the Barbarians FC on fifteen occasions.cite web| url=http://www.rugbyhalloffame.com/pages/beaumont2003.htm |title=Bill Beaumont |publisher=rugbyhalloffame.com |accessdate=2007-07-14]

Described as arguably "the greatest forward" to play for England,cite web| url=http://www.rugbyhalloffame.com/pages/johnson2005.htm |title=Martin Johnson |publisher=rugbyhalloffame.com |accessdate=2007-07-14] Martin Johnson played 84 Tests for England, and eight Tests for the British and Irish Lions.cite web|url=http://www.lionsrugby.com/pp_martin_johnson.html |title=Lion Legends: Martin Johnson |publisher=British and Irish Lions |accessdate=2008-02-15] He first represented England in 1993, and later that year the Lions. He captained the Lions to South Africa in 1997, and in 1999 was appointed captain of England. He became England's most successful ever captain. He became the first player to captain two Lions tours when he captained them in Australia in 2001.cite web| url=http://www.sportasylum.com/page/RugbyBio/0,,10301~791164,00.html |title=Martin Johnson - England's greatest-ever captain |publisher=sportasylum.com |accessdate=2007-07-14] He retired from Test rugby after he led England to a Six Nations Grand Slam and World Cup victory in 2003 and has since become the team Manager.

Jason Leonard, also known as "The Fun Bus",cite web| url=http://www.rugbynetwork.net/main/s245/st50222.htm |title=England's Jason Leonard OBE - Dossier |publisher=rugbynetwork.net |accessdate=2007-10-24 |date=2004-04-13] appeared 114 times for England at prop, which was the world record for international appearances for a national team until 2005, when it was surpassed by Australia's scrum-half George Gregan.cite web| url=http://www.rugbyhalloffame.com/pages/leonard2007.htm |title=Jason Leonard |publisher=rugbyhalloffame.com |accessdate=2007-10-24] He was on the England team that finished runners up to Australia in the 1991 Rugby World Cup final, but avenged this twelve years later, coming on as a substitute for Trevor Woodman in England's victorious 2003 Rugby World Cup final appearance. He also went on three British and Irish Lions tours where he was capped five times.

Individual records

The record for Test career points for England is held by Jonny Wilkinson with 1023 points. The record for tries is held by Rory Underwood with 49 tries; Underwood is also England's most capped back with 85 caps. The most capped England player is former Prop Jason Leonard who made 114 appearances over his 14-year career.cite news| url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/rugby_union/sixnations/urheads06.xml |title=Six Nations head-to-head statistics |publisher=telegraph.co.uk |date=2006-02-08 |accessdate=2007-07-18] England's youngest ever Test player was Henri Laird who was 18 years and 134 days old when he played against Wales in 1927.cite news|title=Wilkinson sidesteps age barrier - Rugby Union - Student European Championship - Preview. |publisher=The Times |date=1998-03-17 |last=Hands |first=David]


Club versus country

Although the England team is governed by the Rugby Football Union (RFU), players have been contracted to their clubs since the advent of professionalism in late 1995. Since then, players have often been caught in a "power struggle" between their clubs and the RFU; this is commonly referred to as a "club versus country" conflict.Tuck (2003), pg 195.] The first major conflict between England's top clubs (who play in the English Premiership) and the RFU occurred in 1998, when some of the clubs refused to release players to tour Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.cite news| title=Woodward embroiled in club v country spat rears its face again |publisher=The Independent |last=Hewett |first=Chris |date=1998-03-03 |page=27] The tour became known as the "Tour from hell" after an England squad of second-string players were defeated in all four Tests, including a 76–0 defeat by Australia.cite news| title=Tour from Hell that left some players burnt |publisher=The Times |date=2002-11-02 |page=40 |last=Baldwin |first=Mark] The clubs also withdrew from the 1998–1999 European Cup (now called the Heineken Cup).Morgan (2002), pg 56.]

In 2001, the top clubs and the RFU formed "England Rugby" to help govern the club and international game. The parties agreed to restrict the number of matches at club and international level that elite players (a group of 50 or 60 players selected by the RFU) could play in order to prevent player burnout and injuries.cite news| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/1454059.stm |title=New deal to protect England stars |date=2001-07-24 |publisher=bbc.co.uk |accessdate=2007-08-31] In return for releasing players from club commitments, the clubs were to receive compensation from the RFU. This agreement was considered central to the England victory in the 2003 World Cup. Sir Clive Woodward, England coach from November 1997, resigned in 2004 because he was unable to get the access to the players that he wanted; "I wanted more from the union - more training days with the players, more influence over the way they were treated - and ended up with less."cite news| title="I wasn't ready to compromise. I wanted more and I got less..." |publisher=The Independent |last=Hewett |first=Chris |page=76 |date=2004-09-04] Andy Robinson, Woodward's successor, blamed the lack of control over players for his team's unsuccessful record.cite news| url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/rugby/article2198977.ece |title=The Big Interview: Andy Robinson |publisher=timesonline.co.uk |accessdate=2007-08-31 |date=2007-08-05] Brian Ashton, who took over from Robinson, intentionally named his playing squad for Six Nations matches in 2007 at an early opportunity in the hope that their clubs would not play them in the weekend prior to a Test.cite news |url=http://www.rte.ie/sport/2007/0213/england.html |publisher=rte.ie |title=Ashton set to name side for Croker |date=2007-02-14 |accessdate=2007-08-31] The RFU and the Premiership clubs are negotiating a similar deal to the one in 2001 that will enable international players to be released into the England squad prior to international matches.cite news| url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/rugby/article1977476.ece |title=Peace deal agreed in club v country row |publisher=timesonline.co.uk |accessdate=2007-08-31 |date=2007-06-24 |last=Cain |first=Nick]


The following is a list of all England coaches. The first appointed coach was Don White in 1969. The current coach is Martin Johnson who took over as coach in 2008, after Brian Ashton was sacked. [All records were taken from [http://www.lassen.co.nz/pickandgo.php?fyear=q&teama=ENG#hrh lassen.co.nz/pickandgo.php] .] Farmer (2006), pg 75.]

ee also

*England national rugby union team (sevens)
*England Saxons
*England women's national rugby union team
*England vs Australia
*England vs New Zealand
*England vs South Africa
*England vs Argentina


*cite journal
last = Morgan
first =Michael
title =Optimizing the structure of elite competitions in professional sport – lessons from Rugby Union
journal =Managing Leisure
volume =7
pages =41–60
doi =10.1080/13606710110117023

* cite journal
last =Tuck
first = Jason
title =The Men in White: Reflections on Rugby Union, the Media and Englishness
journal =International Review for the Sociology of Sport
volume =38
issue =2
pages =177–199
doi =10.1177/1012690203038002003

Notes and references

External links

* [http://www.rfu.com England Rugby Football Union website]
* [http://www.england-rugby.com England Rugby website]
* [http://www.unofficialenglandrugby.co.uk Unofficial England Rugby Fan site]
* [http://www.swinglow.net England Rugby Fan website]
* [http://www.twickenhamstadium.com/ Twickenham Stadium]
* [http://www.rfu.com/microsites/museum/index.cfm Museum of Rugby]

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