Fans Have Voted For England's All-Time Greatest XV, The Results Are Controversial - Ruck

Fans Have Voted For England’s All-Time Greatest XV, The Results Are Controversial

In a recent Twitter poll, England Rugby enthusiasts engaged in a heated debate to crown their ultimate dream team, revealing a roster that’s stirred up controversy with notable omissions.

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The illustrious history of the Red Rose is punctuated by an array of exceptional talent, making the task of whittling down to a mere fifteen players a daunting endeavour.

Fans were called upon to select from a curated pool of candidates in a bid to select England’s finest lineup.

Surprisingly, amidst a sea of legendary names, only a solitary active player still playing for England clinched a coveted spot. Without further ado, behold the complete XV below:

All-Time England XV:


Fullback: JASON ROBINSON (94% of the vote) – The speedster was a menace whatever number was on his back, a bewildering opponent, a man seemingly able to sidestep in mid-air, with pace and nerve and vision, tough in the tackle, intelligent in his use of angles and selfless when it came to creating openings for teammates.

Winger: JONNY MAY (56%): The winger is undoubtedly one of England’s premier players since 2003, boasting the title of the country’s second-highest try-scorer of all time and consistently delivering top-notch performances

Winger: RORY UNDERWOOD (55%) – England’s highest try scorer, with 49, and a player of undeniable attacking class


Centre: JEREMY GUSCOTT (69%) – The Prince of Centres,’ was how Guscott was described by Clive Woodward. And he wasn’t wrong.

Centre: WILL GREENWOOD (66%) – Everything you could want in a modern day inside centre and more. He is sorely missed.


Fly-half: JONNY WILKINSON (97%) – Who else could it have been? There’s little to say about this man that hasn’t already been written.

Scrum-half: MATT DAWSON (83%) –  Although never the greatest of distributors, Dawson’s competitive edge and ability to spot the gap puts him in ahead of many other contenders


Prop: JASON LEONARD (69%) – The most enduring, the most accomplished and, as his ‘Fun Bus’ nickname would suggest, one of the most faithful and inspirational team-mates to have alongside you

Hooker: BRIAN MOORE (43%) –  He played in three World Cups for England and won three Grand Slams, earning World Rugby’s Player of the Year award in 1991

Prop: PHIL VICKERY (82%) – As one of the hardest hitters in rugby, “Raging Bull” is never far from a Dream XV list

Jason leonard


Lock: MARTIN JOHNSON (98%) – 84 caps for England across a decade, 39 of them as captain, culminating in that World Cup victory, three tours for the British and Irish Lions as well

Lock: MARO ITOJE (59%) – He would have excelled no matter the time or style of game, be it tight and relentless, a bare-knuckle exchange as often used to be the case, or, as he does now, as an all-purpose player, as at ease in the open spaces as he is doing the grunt work at the coal-face


Flanker: RICHARD HILL (85%) – The flanker was “first on the team-sheet,” according to Johnson and Sir Clive Woodward

Flanker: NEIL BACK (56%) – A genuine openside and a genius at the breakdown, Back added an extra dimension to the England side that is so sorely lacking from them now

Number 8:  LAWRENCE DALLAGLIO (70%) – Dallaglio has always been a singular figure, one never daunted by any situation which is why he was such a long-standing captain with Wasps

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

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.