England national rugby union team

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Image:England Rugby.JPG
Union Rugby Football Union
Coach TBA
Captain Martin Corry
Most caps Jason Leonard (114)
Top scorer Jonny Wilkinson (884)
Image:Kit left arm.png Image:Kit body thinsidesonwhite.png Image:Kit right arm.png
Image:Kit shorts.png
Image:Kit socks.png
Team colours
First international
(also the world's first)
Scotland 4 - 1 England
(27 March, 1871)
Largest win
134 - 0 Romania (17 November, 2001)
Worst defeat
Australia 76 - 0 England
(6 June, 1998)
World Cup
Appearances 5 (First in 1987)
Best result Champions, 2003

The England national rugby union team (also referred to as England Rugby and the English rugby team) represents England at a national level in international rugby union competitions, notably the World Cup and the Six Nations Championship. The team is governed by the Rugby Football Union, which oversees all rugby union in England. It is traditionally one of the leading teams in international rugby union.

The history of the team extends back to 1871, when the English rugby team officially played their first match, losing to Scotland. With the advent of the Five Nations in 1883, England dominanted the early championships, winning the first two and sharing the third with Scotland. Similar success was found in the early 1900s, with England winning 10 championships (two being shared), from 1910 to 1930 (not held in 1915-19 due to World War I). Eight of these 10 victories were grand slams, meaning, England were undefeated in the tournament. Similar success was found in the following decade, when England won four championships from 1931 to 1939. The Rugby World Cup was introduced in 1987, England made it to the final of the 1991 World Cup, only to be defeated by Australia.

They are the current World champions, having won the 2003 World Cup. England compete annually in the Six Nations Championship and have won that championship and its predecessors more times than any other nation, also having completed the most grand slams (meaning the side went undefeated) out of the six competing nations.


[edit] History

[edit] The first match

Pupils in private schools (primarily Rugby) spread the game in the first half of the 19th Century. They took it to the universities (a club forming at Cambridge in 1839), to London (where Blackheath were founded in the 1860s) and the provinces (Manchester and Liverpool leading the way in the north). The first international game that England played was against Scotland on Monday 27th March, 1871. The match was not just the first ever English or Scottish international, but the first ever rugby union international. The game took place at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, Scotland. Scotland won four points to one in front of 4,000 people.

[edit] 1870-1890

The subsequent game took place at the Oval in London, England, with England defeating Scotland eight points to three (England scoring three tries, one conversion and one drop goal, and Scotland getting the one drop goal). The next game between the two nations was at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, and resulted in a draw. England's early international sides (in the 1870s) were comprised mainly of Old Rugbeians or Marlburians. Most were selected from Oxbridge, who set up their annual Varsity match in 1872.

The succeeding match between the two nations took place two years later on Monday 23rd February 1874 at the same location as the first game. England again won the game, though this time the score was a lot closer, England winning just three points to one. The following year England played their first game against the Irish at the Oval, winning seven nil, the match was Ireland's test debut. Ireland hosted them at Rathmines, Dublin, and England won four points to nil. Another match between England and Ireland was held in December, with England winning again. Games were played against Scotland and Ireland in 1876 and 1877 respectively, England, although holding the opponents scoreless, the margain of scoring remained fairly low. A second game against Scotland that year resulted in England's first loss since their first game.

Ireland, whom England had beaten three times in the previous years, hosted England at the Lansdowne Road stadium in Dublin. England emerged as winners, defeating Ireland seven points to nil. Defeating Ireland in 1879, England followed this up with another at Lansdowne Road, although the game was a lot closer, with England winning four points to one. England hosted Scotland in 1880, although the game was not being played at the Oval, instead, the match, which England won, was contested at the Whalley Range ground in Manchester. They beat Ireland at the same ground a year later.

England played Wales for the first time, on February 19, 1881 at Richardsons Field in Blackheath. England racked up their largest victory, defeating the Welsh 30 points to nil, though the subsequent meeting the following year at St Helens in Swansea was a closer contest, with England winning 10 nil. England drew with Ireland and Scotland in 1881/82, and were beaten by Scotland that year as well. Scotland came close to defeating England again in 1883. The two try to one try win to England was watched by a crowd of over 10,000. That year, the first Home Nations championship was held, and England emerged as the inaugural winners.

In 1884, England defeated Wales at the northern venue of Cardigan Fields in Leeds. This was followed by a successful defense of their Home Nations trophy, although the 1885 tournament was not completed. The 1886 tournament was a shared victory with Scotland, as England were held scoreless in two draws with Scotland and Wales. In 1887, Ireland defeated England for the first time. In 1889, England played their first match against a non-home nations team. England defeated the New Zealand Maoris at Rectory Field in Blackheath.

In 1890, England shared the Home Nations trophy with Scotland, as England dropped a game against Wales. England lost their game against Scotland in the 1891 Home Nations, thus, Scotland won the tournament. However, the following year, England won all their games and won the tournamen outright. England did not perform as well in the subsequent tournaments, only winning one game in both the 1893 and 1894 Home Nations championships. They won two of their three games in 1895, but dropped to winning one game in the 1896 and 1897 championships. They experienced their worst Home Nations championship at the 1899 tournament, when they were whitewashed, failing to win a game, and being defeated by Wales by over 20 points.

[edit] 1900-1930

They performed better at the 1900 Home Nations, though they still only won one game, they did draw with Scotland. England produced similar results to 1899 at the 1901 Home Nations when they lost all their matches. However, they returned to form the following year, dropping just the one game. In 1905 England again lost all of their Home Nations games, and ended the year with their first encounter with the All Blacks, which New Zealand won, 15-0. In 1906, France began playing in the Home Natios tournament, and England won their match against France as well as beating Scotland. Also in 1906, England played the Springboks for the first time, drawing three points all. England began their 1907 Home Nations with a big win, defeating France by 28 points at the Athletic Ground in Richmond. An optimistic opening game was however followed by three straight losses to the other home nations. They performed slightly better the following year, winnig two of their four fixtures, the same result happened in the 1909 Home Nations as well. England also played the Wallabies for the first time, losing 3 points to nine.

The 1910 opening of the RFU's new home at Twickenham heralded a golden era for English rugby union. The very first international at Twickenham brought England success over Wales and England won the International Championship for the first time since the great schism of 1895. This title coincided with the rise of Harlequin F.C., whose effective brand of attacking rugby led to a purple period in the years leading up to the Great War. England did not retain the title the following year, winning and losing two games each. However, England only lost one game to Scotland in the 1912 Five Nations, and thus shared that championship with Ireland, who also only lost once. In 1913, England pulled off a Grand Slam of the Five Nations, meaning they won every single game, although Wales had first achieved it in 1911. England not only successfully defended the title at the 1914 Five Nations, but produced another Grand Slam performance. Their Welsh-born fly-half, Dave Davies, was the driving force behind a pack that laid the foundations for back-to-back Grand Slams.

There were no games between 1914 and 1920 owing to the First World War and its after effects, but when the Five Nations resumed in 1921 England continued where they left off, winning three more Grand Slams. Davies returned to head the attack and a young pack leader, Wavell Wakefield, pioneered specialisation in the scrum to give England a distinct edge in forward play. They lost a game to eventual champions Wales and drew with France in the 1922 championship. England continued their recent success, and were able to complete another Grand Slam at the 1923 Five Nations. This feat was repeated in style in 1924.

They started 1925 off with a loss to the All Blacks in front of 60,000 fans at Twickenham. This was followed by two wins, a draw and a loss at the 1925 Five Nations. England slipped to just the one win in 1926, with a draw and two losses in the Five Nations that year, and this was followed by two wins and two losses at the subsequent championship. In 1928, England stormed to a Five Nations victory, producing a Grand Slam in the process. Although they only won the two games at the 1929 championship, England won it again in 1930. The following year, the Five Nations returned to its previous format after France were excluded due to to claims of professionalism.

As with the 1920 Five Nations, the 1931 Home Nations resulted in a three-way-tie between Ireland, England and Wales. That same year England played the Springboks in front of 70,000 at Twickenham. England won the 1934 Home Nations with what was called a "Triple Crown", meaning they defeated the other three opponents, the following year, the won two games and drew one and lost one. Tests against southern hemisphere teams were rare, though in 1935 England memorably beat the New Zealand All Blacks, thanks in part to Obolensky's famous try. In 1937, England won the Home Nations, with a Triple Crown victory. Scotland won the following year, but England shared the championship again a year later, with Ireland and Wales.

[edit] 1940-1979

No rugby was held until 1947 due to World War II. France were now back in the Home Nations, so the competition was reverted back to the Five Nations Championship. England won a shared 1947 championship with Wales, losing just the one game. The following year however, England did not win a game, drawing with Wales and losing the rest of their games. The 1949 championship was better for England, as they won half of their games. The early Five Nations competitions of the 1950s were not the best for England, winning just the one match in the 1950 and 1951 championships. England toured to South Africa for the first time in 1952, losing to the Springboks three points to eight. The Five Nations was better that year however, as England won half their games. England was victorious at the 1953 Five Nations, winning all their matches but a draw with Wales. This was the first championship for England since 1947. This was followed up by a three way tie with France and Wales the following year. However, they won only one game at the succeeding championships, as well as drawing another.

England won two of their games at the 1956 Five Nations, but they followed this up with a Grand Slam the next year. Although they drew two games in the 1958 Five Nations, it was enough to ensure England won the championship, also defeating Australia in England. Two draws, a loss and one win resulted at the 1959 Five Nations. France dominated the Five Nations championship for the early years of the 1960s, but England managed to share a win with them in 1960. However, following this shared championship, England lost to the Springboks at the start of the year and only managed to win one game in the 1961 Five Nations, finishing with two losses and a draw. They drew twice in 1962, winning and losing the other games at the Five Nations.

The following year England broke France's four-championship streak, winning the 1963 Championship. After this victory, England played three tests in the Southern Hemisphere, losing all three; 21-11 and 9-6 against the All Blacks and 18-9 against Australia. The All Blacks came to England the following year, defeating England 14-0. These losses were followed by a further poor performances in the 1964/65 Five Nations Championships. England then did not win a single game in 1966, managing only a draw with Ireland. They did not win another Championship for the rest of the deacade.

In 1971, the RFU's centenary year, England struggled to overcome Japan 6-3 in Tokyo. Nevertheless England had some good wins against southern hemisphere teams, with victories over South Africa in 1972, New Zealand in 1973 and Australia in 1976 (albeit losing twice to the Wallabies in previous weeks). The 1972 Five Nations Championship was not completed owing to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. When the British embassy in Dublin was burnt down by a mob after Bloody Sunday, and following threatening letters to players, Scotland and then Wales refused to play their Five Nations away fixtures in Ireland citing security concerns. England, however, agreed to play an extra fixture in Dublin. After losing 18-9 at Lansdowne Road, the England captain, John Pullin earned the appreciation and respect of the Irish public with his immortal line, "We might not be very good but at least we turned up."

[edit] 1980-1999

England started the decade with a Grand Slam victory in the 1980 Five Nations - their first for 23 years, under the captaincy of Lancastrian Bill Beaumont, thanks to a 9-8 (three penalties to two tries) victory against a 14-man Wales. But this was something of a false dawn and the remainder of the decade was not a great period for the England team. The subsequent Championship of 1981 was less successful for England, winning two of their four games, and this was followed up with a draw and win against Argentina. England kicked off 1982 with a victory over the Wallabies in a tight game, winning 15 to 11 in England. Their Five Nations campaign was similarly successful, drawing with Scotland, losing to Ireland, and victories over France and Wales. At the match banquet after the win against France in Paris, there was a complimentary bottle of cologne next to each player's place at the table. Second row Maurice Colclough emptied the flask and refilled it with wine, which he then drank. Team-mate Colin Smart saw only Colclough seemingly sink a bottle of cologne and decided to follow suit. Within an hour he was on his way to hospital to have his stomach pumped, although as scrum-half Steve Smith pointed out: 'He may have been unwell, but Colin had the nicest breath I've smelt.'

The 1983 Five Nations was not as close, and England failed to win a game. England drew Wales and lost their other three matches, although they completed the year with an impressive 15 to nine victory over the All Blacks in England. England improved slightly in the following Five Nations, but still managed to only win one game. Their troubles continued that year when the Springboks put 35 points on them in two tests in South Africa and the Wallabies defeated England at Twickenham. 1985 started with a close win over Romania, they then opened their Five Nations matches with a nine-all draw with France. This was followed up with a draw with France and a win over Scotland. However, England then succumbed to losses against Ireland and Wales in their remaining Five Nations fixtures. England then lost twice to the All Blacks on tour to New Zealand - 18-13, and a convincing 42-15.

England won two of their four games at the 1986 Five Nations and the following championship, only won the one game against Scotland in the lead up to 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 60-7, and the United States, 34-6, placing them second in their pool. They were to meet Wales in the quarter-finals and lost the match 16-3.

England opened their 1988 Five Nations with a close 10-9 loss against France, which was followed by defeat against Wales. England, however, finished the championship on a higher note, defeating both Scotland and Ireland in their last two matches. England lost two games against Australia in the same year as well. Their 1989 Five Nations was an improvement over the previous championshsip, winning two games and drawing another with just the one loss to Wales. England then won games against Romania and Fiji, and carried this winning streak over into 1990, winning their first three Five Nations games, only to lose against Scotland in their last game who themselves achieved a Grand Slam. In 1991 England had ideal preparation for that year's World Cup, to take place on home soil, by winning their first Grand Slam since 1980.

England were hosting the 1991 Rugby World Cup and were in pool A, along with the All Blacks, Italy and the United States. The opening game of the tournament at Twickenham was the clash between the All Blacks and England, with the All Blacks eventually winning 18-12. England subsequently defeated Italy 36-6 and the United States, 37-9, to finish second in their pool, behind the All Blacks. England were to face pool D winners France, in Parc de Princes in Paris, in a fiercely contested match they defeated France 19-10. The win saw England move to the semi-finals where they would face Scotland at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, which they duly and won 9-6 to secure a place in their first ever Rugby World Cup final, against Australia. The final was played in front of a capacity crowd at Twickenham, England eventually lost the match 12-6, leaving Australia as the 1991 World Champions.

The next year, England completed another Grand Slam in the 1992 Five Nations, and they extended this success to the rest of their fixtures that year, beating Canada and the newly reinstated Springboks. The winning run continued into 1993, defeating France and their opening game of the Five Nations, only to then lose to the Welsh in their next game. They won the following game against Scotland and then lost their last game against Ireland. In November of that year, England then defeated the All Blacks 15-9. England lost just the one game at the 1994 Five Nations, and the only other game lost that year, was the second test from two against the Springboks.

In the lead up to the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa, England completed another Grand Slam - their third in five years. With the Five Nations trophy, England headed into pool B of the World Cup, grouped with Argentina, Italy and Samoa. England won their opening game, defeating Argentina 24-18, going on to narrowly defeat Italy 27-20 and then Samoa, 44-22. England went on to meet Australia in the quarter finals, whom they had lost to in previous World Cup final. This time, however, England went on to win, the final score being 25-22. England moved into the semi-finals, where they met the powerful All Blacks. In a match dominated by the All Blacks and featuring four tries by Jonah Lomu, England lost 45-29. They then lost the third/fourth place match against France, while South Africa emerged as World Champions against the All Blacks.

In 1997 former international and member of the 1980 Grand Slam winning team, Clive Woodward became coach of the England team. In that year England managed a draw with New Zealand at Twickenham, after being routed in Manchester the week before. Many of the England team made themselves unavailable for the disastrous summer 1998 tour to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa nicknamed the 'Tour of Hell' where England suffered a humiliating 76-0 defeat to the Wallabies. On the home front, England, although often touted as tournament favourites in the media, under-performed in the five nations, failing to win crucial games and handing titles to France in 1998 and Scotland in 1999 by failing to beat France and Wales respectively. In the last ever five nations match (the tournament would admit Italy the following season and become known as the Six nations) Scott Gibbs sliced through 6 English tackles to score in the last minute. England were defeated and the last ever five nations title went to Scotland.

[edit] 2000-2003

England commenced the new decade by winning the inaugural Six Nations title, just missing out on a Grand Slam due to a defeat in their last match to Scotland at Murrayfield. The following year was remarkably similar with England again winning the championship and again missing out on a Grand Slam due to a defeat in the last match, this time to Ireland at Lansdowne Road.

The 2002 Six Nations title was won by France after a victory over England in Paris but a Triple Crown provided some consolation for the English.

In the summer of 2002 England's strength in depth began to be seen when a very young squad (captained by Phil Vickery) defeated a full-strength Argentina team in Buenos Aires in the English summer. It came to be seen as a turning point in English rugby. Then in November under Martin Johnson, England defeated the three giants of the southern hemisphere at Twickenham in successive weeks. England were able to overcome the All Blacks in a close encounter, with only three points separating the end score. Australia coming off a rare loss to the Irish were beaten by England in another tight match. The South Africa match at Twickenham proved to be a brutal affair which saw England again triumph. Whilst the matches against the Wallabies and the All Blacks were close, the Springboks were humiliated 53-3.

In 2003 England continued to progress and not only won the Grand Slam for the first time since 1995 but also maintained 2 years dominance by being the No.1 team in the world. After beating the previous tournament winner and Grand Slam champion, France in their opening match and going on to defeat the Welsh at Millennium Stadium, the remaining matches saw England put 40 or more points on every opponent. This was followed by wins over Australia and New Zealand in a pre world cup tour in June.

Going into the Rugby World Cup of 2003 they were one of the favourites for the title and after some minor stumbles along the way they reached the final on 22 November 2003 where they met Australia. England were crowned champions of the world following a drop goal in the final 26 seconds of the match by Jonny Wilkinson. The final scoreline was 20-17 in a game that is considered one of the greatest rugby games ever seen. Three days later the English team arrived at the Heathrow airport in the early hours of the morning to be greeted by thousands of fans. On December 8 a national day of celebration took place; like none that had ever been seen before. The English team greeted an estimated 750,000 supporters in their parade through London before going on to be greeted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

Since the start of the decade, England had dominated world rugby winning 29 and losing only 5 matches against the other seven major rugby playing nations. This included a perfect record of 16 wins and no losses at Twickenham. In addition England had won 12 successive matches against the three Tri Nations teams including victories in New Zealand, South Africa and Australia (twice). England's old nemesis, Wales, had truly been put to the sword with 6 successive wins for the red rose.

[edit] Present

However after the World Cup win, a number of players, including captain Martin Johnson announced their retirements and in the 2004 Six Nations Championship tournament, England lost to both France and Ireland and finished third — their worst performance in ten years. At the end of August 2004, the new captain, Lawrence Dallaglio, temporarily retired from international rugby, although he later marked a return to international rugby with a try against Wales in the 2006 Six Nations. Sir Clive Woodward resigned on September 2. Andy Robinson was appointed head coach, he was an obvious choice as he had been on Woodward's coaching staff for the duration of the World Cup campaign and Jonny Wilkinson was appointed as captain. The 2005 Six Nations Championship was even more disappointing with a fourth place position after losing to France, Ireland and Wales.

Twenty-three England players were involved in the unsuccesful British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in 2005, where they were beaten 3-0 by the All Blacks. The current England coach Andy Robinson was also part of Clive Woodward’s coaching team on this tour. On his return there was a brief break for the players and the England management team before the 2005 Autumn internationals and the 2006 Six Nations Championship. When England played Australia on 12th November at Twickenham it was clear that much rebuilding had been done and a new-look team, driven by overwhelming forward power, beat their old rivals 26-16. The following week (19th November) the All Blacks came to Twickenham and although New Zealand eventually ran out 23-19 winners many believed England's performance was an indication they would now better compete in the Six Nations, and build on this to be a force in the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

However, for the third year in succession the Six Nations has not gone according to plan for England in 2006. A comfortable opening win over Wales gave England a promising start, but an unconvincing victory over Italy was then followed by defeats to both Scotland and France, effectively ending their title hopes. Coach Robinson responded by making seven changes for the final match against Ireland. Which they eventually lost after a strong performance and handed the triple crown to Ireland, a result which saw England finishing fourth in the Six Nations. Consequently, the RFU had a review of the situation and decided to bring in new coaching staff. Andy Robinson kept his place as head coach, although he is now being supported by a Elite Rugby Director, who the RFU decided, after months of interviewing various candidates from around the world that it should be Rob Andrew. The RFU also changed the England team's backroom staff bringing in John Wells as Forwards coach, Mike Ford as Defence coach, and Brian Ashton as Attack coach. In the post-season summer tour, England returned to Australia in June for a two-game test series. Due to injury and a desire to rest several established players, a squad mixed with youth and veteran experience lost both games comprehensively the first 34-3 and the second 43-18. This extended England's losing streak to five successive matches, their worst run since 1984.

England played four, home autumn internationals at Twickenham against New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa (twice). Having lost the first two matches of the Autumn internationals to New Zealand, 20-41, and Argentina, 18-25, another defeat would result in the worst losing streak in English rugby history. However they managed to win against South Africa 23-21 avoiding the 8 match losing streak. But the following week on Saturday 25th November, South Africa exacted revenge for that loss and beat England 14-25 to make it 8 losses in the last 9 tests, England's worst ever match record. Current coach Andy Robinson finally resigned after this dismal run. In his time in charge, England lost 13 of their 22 matches. England's next game is the Calcutta Cup tie against Scotland in the 2007 Six Nations, which they lost in the previous tournament.

Since the World cup win in 2003 England have struggled to produce good form and are not considered genuine contenders for the World Cup in France 2007. Indeed, some observers now believe that the game against Samoa in the first round may now decide whether England can even reach the quarter finals.

[edit] 2007 World Cup

England is in Pool A in the up coming 2007 World Cup in France. Also in this pool are South Africa, Samoa, USA and there is one other team still to qualify. The runners up of this pool will play the winners of pool B (QF1) which consists of Australia, Wales, Fiji, Canada and a qualifying team from Asia. The winners of pool A will play the runners up from pool B (QF3).

[edit] Stadium

[edit] Pre 1910

Up until 1910 the English rugby team used various stadia before settling at Twickenham Stadium.

[edit] Twickenham

Further information: Twickenham Stadium

In late 1905, the Rugby Football Union saw the benefit in owning their own ground following sell out matches against New Zealand in 1905 and South Africa in 1906 at Crystal Palace. In 1906, the Rugby Football Union 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, construction began the next year. The first England match was held on October 9, 1910 between England and Wales. England ran out winners, 11 points to 6, beating Wales for the first time since 1898. England boasts a great record of winning at their home ground which at one-time was nicknamed 'Fortress Twickenham'. Recently Twickenham has been under a regeneration project, in which the ground's South Stand has been rebuilt, making the stadium into a complete bowl. The first match to be played at the redeveloped Twickenham was the 4th Autumn International played on Sunday November 5th 2006 against New Zealand which England lost 20-41 in front of a record crowd of 82,076.

[edit] Strip

[edit] Current

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. Currently the strip is manufactured by Nike and O2 is the shirt sponsor.

[edit] Origins

Prior to an English team being sent to Edinburgh to play a Scottish side, the then multinational Rugby Football Union created the national side's emblem. A red rose was chosen to be the side’s emblem. It is likely that it was chosen to pay reverence to the Tudor Rose, but its conception is disputed.

Myth as to what inspired the creation of the emblem traces back to Lawrence Sheriff. Sheriff was presented with a crest and coat of arms by Elizabeth I. He would later found Rugby School, this saw the use of his coat of arms on the school emblem, a tribute to Sheriff’s achievement in being presented with his crest and coat of arms. Rugby School’s strip was white, it is speculated that it was the foundation of the national rugby attire, more importantly, its relationship with the Red Rose of Lancaster may have been influential in selecting an emblem for the national team. The reason some speculate that it is in fact the Red Rose of Lancaster, is because monarchs, such as Elizabeth I were generally associated with the Red Rose.

It is sometimes light-heartedly remarked that two men on the subcommittee who selected the first English side hailed from Lancashire, though this story has less credibility as it is unlikely the other members of the committee would have allowed such bias to creep into the selection of a national sporting emblem.

Alfred Wright was an employee of the Rugby Football Union; he is credited with the standardisation and new design of the rose, which up until 1920 had seen variation in its depiction. The Wright design is thought to have been used without major alteration until the late 1990s. It was not until 1997 that the rose was redesigned to a chic representation; this change was led by Nike who became the official strip supplier.

[edit] Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Coming into the last match of the 1988 season, against Ireland at Twickenham, they had lost 15 of their previous 23 matches in the Five Nations Championship. The Twickenham crowd had only seen one solitary England try in the previous two years and at half time against Ireland they were 0-3 down. During the second half the floodgates opened and England scored a remarkable six tries in a thumping 35-3 win. Three of the tries came in quick succession from Chris Oti, a black player making his Twickenham debut. A group from the Benedictine school Douai started to sing a rugby club favourite – the gospel hymn Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – in honour of their new hero, the whole crowd joined in. At the next home game, against Australia, a young centre named Will Carling made his debut as England captain in another rousing victory. The England team was about to embark upon a period of great success and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot became synonymous with Twickenham and the England team.

[edit] Records and statistics

[edit] World Cup record

[edit] Biggest Wins

[edit] Home

[edit] Away

[edit] Biggest Losses

[edit] Home

[edit] Away

Source: IRB Results archive

[edit] Most appearances

# Player Career Caps
1 Jason Leonard 1990-2004 114
2 Rory Underwood 1984-96 85
3 Martin Johnson 1993-2003 84
4 Lawrence Dallaglio 1995-Present 77
= Matt Dawson 1995-2006 77
6 Will Carling 1988-97 72
7 Rob Andrew 1985-97 71
= Richard Hill 1997-2004 71
9 Mike Catt 1994-Present 67
10 Neil Back 1994-2003 66

Players in bold were members of the 2003 World Cup winning squad.

[edit] Current squad

The 2006/07 elite squad is:
Player Club
Stuart Abbott Harlequin FC
Iain Balshaw Gloucester
Olly Barkley Bath
Steve Borthwick Bath
Mike Catt London Irish
George Chuter Leicester Tigers
Ben Cohen Northampton Saints
Martin Corry Leicester Tigers
Mark Cueto Sale Sharks
Lawrence Dallaglio London Wasps
Louis Deacon Leicester Tigers
Harry Ellis Leicester Tigers
Andrew Farrell Saracens
Perry Freshwater USA Perpignan
James Forrester Gloucester RFC
Andy Goode Leicester Tigers
Danny Grewcock Bath Rugby
Charlie Hodgson Sale Sharks
Chris JonesSale Sharks
Ben Kay Leicester Tigers
Josh Lewsey London Wasps
Player Club
Michael Lipman Bath Rugby
Magnus Lund Sale Sharks
Lee Mears Bath Rugby
Lewis Moody Leicester Tigers
Jamie Noon Newcastle Falcons
Tim Payne London Wasps
Shaun Perry Bristol Rugby
Peter Richards Gloucester RFC
Pat Sanderson Worcester Rugby
Simon Shaw London Wasps
Andrew Sheridan Sale Sharks
James Simpson-Daniel Gloucester RFC
Mathew Tait Newcastle Falcons
Steve Thompson Northampton Saints
Mike Tindall Gloucester RFC
Mark van Gisbergen London Wasps
Phil Vickery London Wasps
Julian White Leicester Tigers
Jonny Wilkinson Newcastle Falcons
Joe Worsley London Wasps

[edit] Captains

List of principal captains (others who have captained the side when these were absent are in parenthesis).

[edit] Other notable players

[edit] Coaches

[edit] See also

[edit] References

<references />

[edit] External links

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