2003 Rugby World Cup-winner leads football team to title with three games to go... - Ruck

2003 Rugby World Cup-winner leads football team to title with three games to go…

Former England hooker and World Cup champion, Steve Thompson, has achieved success in a different sporting arena by guiding his football team to victory in a prestigious local league.

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Under his guidance, the @northwichvicsfc U12 girls secured the top spot in the Mid Cheshire girls league in their inaugural season, accomplishing this feat with three games to spare.

Football has increasingly become a focal point for several personalities who rose to prominence through rugby.

Among them is Dylan Moody, son of former Leicester, England, and Lions flanker, Lewis Moody.

At just 16 years old, Dylan aspires to emulate his father’s success by becoming a standout goalkeeper for Southampton and ultimately representing England.

Despite his youth, Dylan has showcased his talent by making eight appearances for Southampton’s Under-18s Premier League team.

His impressive performances have even earned him a training session with Southampton’s first team, courtesy of an invitation from manager Russell Martin.

In another instance of sporting pedigree transcending generations, Neil Back’s son, Fin, is carving his own path in professional football.

Currently affiliated with Nottingham Forest, the versatile teenager has honed his skills during loan spells with Carlisle United over the past two seasons.

Fin made his professional debut for Forest in an EFL Cup match against Bradford City on August 11, 2021, followed by his league debut against Blackburn Rovers on August 18, 2021.

What England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup heroes look like now, some are very different

They have gone on to lead different lives but, for one night late last year, they reunited to remember that famous day in Sydney.

Sir Clive Woodward’s England lifted the William Webb Ellis trophy for the first – and so far only – time in 2003, after a Jonny Wilkinson drop goal in extra time.

Woodward’s side are still the only northern hemisphere side to win the World Cup, with the other nine tournaments won by South Africa (four), New Zealand (three) and Australia (two). 

In a video posted by England Rugby’s Instagram account, Wilkinson – who scored the all important drop goal 28 seconds from time – said: ‘It’s great being back with all the guys from the squad 20 years on.

‘It’s great to be able to see everyone, and to get a feel of what everyone’s been up to, but also to I guess get a feel for why we were able to do what we did 20 years ago, because it still lives on in everyone.’

Take a look at how some of the key players look now:

Phil Vickery

A former Gloucester and London Wasps prop, Phil Vickery called time on his career at the end of the 2010 Premiership season. The two-time British & Irish Lion was a revered opponent across the world, and has since started a successful clothing brand ‘Raging Bull’, with his on-field nickname. Vickery was forced into retirement due to a series of neck injuries, and in 2012 he joined Worcester Warriors as their Scrum Coach.

Vickery has also tried his hand at sports broadcasting, as he was apart of the commentary team for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. His on-screen appearances have also been witnessed across a variety of TV shows, including ‘Celebrity MasterChef’, which he won in 2011. An eternal fan favourite at Kingsholm Stadium, Vickery was appointed the title of Deputy Lieutenant of Gloucestershire in 2015.

Jonny Wilkinson

Renowned for his iconic drop-goal that secured victory against Australia in the 2003 final, Wilkinson transitioned into a coaching role with Toulon, focusing on kicking and skills development following his retirement. He also now works as a pundit for ITV Sport during Rugby World Cup’s and the Six Nations.

Will Greenwood

Greenwood continued to shine on the international stage following the 2003 glory, and went on to represent the British & Irish Lions for their 2005 tour to New Zealand. He ended his career at Harlequins in 2006, and soon gave his experienced views through analysis and punditry. Greenwood co-hosted the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ TV series with former Wales international Scott Quinnell, and was an on-screen analyst for ITV as England reached the final of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Will has also explored opportunities away from rugby, and is the current Chief Customer Officer for data and software company Afiniti’s London office. Greenwood’s family was struck with tragedy, after his son Freddie died just 45 minutes after being born. The former England centre underwent an inspirational walk to the North Pole in memory of his son, and helped to raise over £750,000 for Borne’s research. Greenwood is a patron of Borne, who are a medical research charity that work with cases of premature birth. He is also a patron of Child Bereavement UK, which is a charity that support parents who have lost a child.