Will Greenwood

Will Greenwood
Full name William John Heaton Greenwood
Date of birth (1972-10-20) 20 October 1972
Place of birth Blackburn, Lancashire, England
Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight 15 st 10 lb (100 kg)
School Sedbergh School
University Durham University
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Centre
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Preston Grasshoppers
Waterloo R.F.C.
correct as of 1988–1990
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
Leicester Tigers
correct as of 14 Sep 2006.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
British and Irish Lions
correct as of 14 Sep 2006.

William John Heaton "Will" Greenwood, MBE (born 20 October 1972) is an English former rugby union player who played for Leicester Tigers and Harlequins and was a member of the 2003 World Cup-winning squad. He played in the centres, mainly at inside-centre, although he was able to play at outside-centre.

Early life

Born 20 October 1972 in Blackburn, Lancashire, Greenwood was educated at St Mary's Hall[1] and Sedbergh School, where he was in the first team for Rugby and Cricket.[2] As a schoolboy, he was also a talented cricketer and played for the Lancashire Schools representative team before ultimately deciding to concentrate on rugby.[3] He graduated with a BA in Economics from Hatfield College, Durham in 1994.[4][5] His father Dick Greenwood played at flanker for and later coached the England Rugby Union team.



Greenwood played his club rugby for the London-based Harlequins, having also played for Preston Grasshoppers, Waterloo and Leicester Tigers.

As rugby had yet to turn professional, he moved to London and worked as a trader at a bank before joining Harlequins.[6] He eventually left Harlequins and moved to Leicester Tigers in 1996 because the presence of England centre Will Carling meant he could not get first team rugby.

Subsequently picked by new England coach and ex-Tigers centre Clive Woodward he became an important part of that team, notably establishing a centre partnership with Jeremy Guscott. In 2000 he moved back from Tigers to 'Quins after succumbing to poor form, not helped by the arrival of Australian Pat Howard that prevented him from getting first team rugby. His match-winning try to defeat Brive, in the European Shield quarterfinal on 27 January 2001, was voted the club's 2000/01 'Try of the Year'. He had already picked up an RFU Cup winner's medal with Tigers but this time tasted defeat in the final of the same competition with NEC Harlequins, at the hands of Newcastle Falcons in 2001.

Greenwood decided to extend his contract with the Harlequins when they were relegated to the National League One.[7] He retired at the end of the 2005/06 season after helping them regain promotion.[8]


After being overlooked by England coach Jack Rowell, he was selected for the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa still uncapped, and ahead of then England captain Phil de Glanville, in the summer of 1997. During the tour, he swallowed his tongue on the pitch after a collision and stopped breathing for several minutes, and did not play in any of the tests.[9] This was one of the few games where Greenwood, contrary to his superstition, wore a number 12 jersey. He was handed his England debut later that year.

Greenwood rebounded and cemented his place in the England team for the Six Nations and World Cup in 2003. He formed a centre partnership with Mike Tindall or Mike Catt and notably wore the number 13 even if he played inside centre.[10] He was involved in all but one of England's games in the World Cup. Although he had rushed home due to his wife's difficult pregnancy, he returned to the side, scoring England's only try against South Africa, when he followed up to touch down after a Lewis Moody charge down.[6] His try against Wales in the quarter-final in Brisbane turned the match for England in a tight game. He finished the tournament as joint top try scorer with five.

He was made vice captain under Lawrence Dallaglio for the 2004 Six Nations tournament. He reached the 50 cap landmark against Ireland and played in all of England's Six Nations matches. At the start of the 2004/5 season he stood on 30 tries. He won the last of 55 England caps against Australia in 2004.

In 2005 Greenwood was injured for the Six Nations, but was selected for the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, his third Lions tour. He replaced Brian O'Driscoll just two minutes into the first test against New Zealand and also played in the third test.


After 55 England English rugby union caps and 31 tries he announced his retirement at the end of the 2005/6 season[11] and he currently works as an analyst for Sky Sports and regularly appears on 'The Rugby Club' and live premiership matches, as well as being (with Scott Quinnell) the co-presenter of the School of Hard Knocks Sky TV series. During the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Greenwood was employed by ITV as an analyst for live matches. He also writes a column on the Daily Telegraph discussing the England rugby team.[12] Will is a co-founder of a Travel and Events business SuperSkills Experiences [13] who offer children and corporate clients a unique opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in sport.

Personal life

Greenwood and his wife Caro have three children. They previously had a son Freddie who died 45 minutes after his birth in 2002.[14] Greenwood is a patron of Child Bereavement UK, a charity which supports parents who have lost a child.[15][16] Greenwood was awarded a Doctor of Civil Law honoris causa by his alma mater Durham University in January 2006.[17] In August 2014, Greenwood was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[18] Away from rugby and cricket, Greenwood has been a supporter of Manchester City F.C. since he was 9 years old and has followed the club through thick and thin - attending the 1999 Second Division play-off final and the last game at Maine Road in 2003.[19][20]

See also


  1. "Greenwood's secret past". BBC. 14 March 2001.
  2. "Sedbergh School 1st XV see off Millfield to remain unbeaten for the season". Daily Telegraph. 22 December 2009.
  3. "LSCA 90th Anniversary". Lancashire Cricket Board. 18 May 2012.
  4. "Small Talk: Will Greenwood". The Guardian. 22 January 2010.
  5. "Purple reign is Greenwood's university wish". The Journal. 26 April 2011.
  6. 1 2 "The Big Interview: Will Greenwood". London Evening Standard. 23 February 2010.
  7. "Greenwood and Vos stay with Quins". BBC Sport. 18 May 2005.
  8. "World Cup star Greenwood to quit". BBC Sport. 4 March 2006.
  9. "Lions 2009: The day when rugby nearly cost Will Greenwood his life". Daily Telegraph. 5 June 2009.
  10. "English Rugby's Fifty Cap Club – Will Greenwood profile: England rugby centre". Daily Telegraph. 13 July 2011.
  11. "World cup star Greenwood to quit". BBC Sport. 4 March 2006. Retrieved 3 March 2010.
  12. Columnists – Will Greenwood
  13. "'There will always be something missing'". Daily Telegraph. 11 May 2004.
  14. "Child Bereavement UK:: Patrons". Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  15. "Will Greenwood - Personally Speaking Bureau". Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  16. Ceremonies – William John Heaton Greenwood
  17. "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". theguardian.com. 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
  18. "Will Greenwood: I followed Manchester City through thick and thin in the bad old days". The Telegraph. 11 May 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  19. "Will Greenwood: Manchester City have given me my No 1 sporting moment - ahead of winning Rugby World Cup". The Telegraph. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 2014-11-08.

External links

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