2003 Rugby World Cup team of the tournament, where are they now? | Page 2 of 3 | Ruck

2003 Rugby World Cup team of the tournament, where are they now?

10: Jonny Wilkinson (England)

Why he was on the team?

It seemed fitting that it was Wilkinson who stole the headlines with his extra-time drop goal – virtually the final kick of the tournament.

He had been the talk of the town in both England and Australia – the World Cup hosts often criticising his game and England’s reliance on him, while the English papers praised his unerring accuracy.

But when the pressure mounted, he did the job. And few could argue with his role as our playmaker.

What is he doing now?

After 2003 Wilkinson endured a succession of injury problems that interrupted his England career but he played in the 2007 World Cup final and won the Six Nations in 2011, retiring from international rugby in the December of the same year after England’s failed World Cup campaign.

In the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) ‘for services to Rugby Union’. Has also set up the Jonny Wilkinson Foundation, seeking to offer life-changing support to members of his community who need it most.

He also works as a pundit for ITV and SKY.

9: Fabien Galthie (France)

Why he was on the team?

He was one of the few truly reliable ball distributors throughout the tournament, and his inspirational leadership and relationship with fly-half Frederic Michalak was the main reason for France’s explosive displays.

What is he doing now?

Retired following the tourament and has since went into coaching. He currently leads the three-time European champions Toulon.

1: Bill Young (Australia)

Why he was on the team?

Young won his place at loose-head for his sterling efforts against the All Blacks and England.

He did not put a foot wrong in the scrum and terrorised the opposition front rows, leading to a host of penalties from his English rivals in the final.

But it was in open play where he was at his most prolific, and he never seemed to tire of running as the clock ticked on.

What is he doing now?

Young announced his retirement from rugby on 18 July 2006 to prevent further trouble with a chronic neck injury. In total he was capped 46 times for Australia and played 100 matches for the ACT Brumbies. He retired as the second most capped Wallaby prop of all time.

Young now operates the Concord Hotel, a suburban pub in Concord West, NSW. He also owns The Palace Hotel in Mortlake, NSW and Wisemans Ferry Inn Hotel, NSW.

2: Keith Wood (Ireland)

Why he was on the team?

Like Galthie, Wood has hung up his boots but certainly gave everyone something to think about.

As always, “the raging potato”, as he became known by some commentators, was the very heart of everything that Ireland did.

His line-out throwing – in the past one of his weak points – was more accurate than a Tomahawk missile, while he ran his heart out and kicked like the best fly-halves at times.

What is he doing now?

Wood made his last appearance on the BBC as a regular pundit having worked for the Beeb for 21 years and The Daily Telegraph as a freelance journalist. In 2014, Wood was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.

He now works as a journalist back in Ireland for The Irish Times.

3: Phil Vickery (England)

Why he was on the team?

England’s front five proved the strongest in the tournament but Vickery was the pick of the front-rowers in the second semi-final and the final, making all of his 18-stone bulk pay in a series of telling shoves.

He is never going to win any sprint plaudits but his game is much more about the weight he gives to England’s scrums than anything.

However, he enjoyed the occasional burst against France and Australia, scuttling over the odd tackler, even though he had the occasional difference of opinion with final referee Andre Watson.

What is he doing now?

Captain of the (almost successful) 2007 World Cup squad. Retired in 2010 due to neck injuries. Won the 2011 series of Celebrity Masterchef before working as a co-commentator at the 2011 Rugby World Cup for ITV.


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