12. Mike Tindall
Tindall retired from the England team following the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and continued playing for Gloucester Rugby until 2014. Tindall is married into the royal family, having famously tied the knot with Zara Phillips, who is the Granddaughter to Queen Elizabeth II. Tindall is the nephew-in-law to the now King Charles III, with the wedding taking place on July 30th 2011 in Edinburgh.
The former England centre is well known for his current work as one third of ‘The Good, The Bad & The Rugby’ Podcast alongside former England and Wasps back row James Haskell and TV Broadcaster Alex Payne. Tindall has also appeared on numerous reality TV shows, including ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’, ‘Bear Grylls: Mission Survive’ and ‘The Jump’. Tindall is an inspirational ambassador, and has appeared in multiple charitable sporting events. He has previously been an ambassador with Rugby for Heroes, the Legion Foundation and for the Midlands Air Ambulance.
In 2013, Tindall hosted an annual charity golf tournament, the ISPS HANDA Mike Tindall Celebrity Golf Classic. He visited Ghana in October 2015, as he worked alongside Right to Play. More recently, Tindall co-founded the Rugby Wine Club in 2021, which works with grass roots clubs to raise funds in the amateur game.
11. Ben Cohen
Cohen ended his rugby career with Sale Sharks, having previously also represented Northampton Saints and French club Brive. An inspirational activist, the former winger founded The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation in 2011, which works on raising awareness regarding the impacts of bullying and implements “real-world work to stop it”. Cohen is an leading activist for LGBTQ+ rights, and in 2013 was inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.
Due to having a hearing issue called tinnitus, Cohen is clinically deaf. He lacks approxmiatly 30% of his hearing in both ears, and he is a campaigner for increased accessibility within rugby for hard of hearing people. Cohen met his partner Kristina Rihanoff on TV show ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, and the pair have since had a daughter together. Cohen has appeared on numerous reality TV shows, including The Jump, The Celebrity Chase and has worked with charity Sports Relief.
10. Jonny Wilkinson
One of the most famous faces in all of rugby, Jonny Wilkinson spent six more seasons at Newcastle Falcons following the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Wilkinson then made the move to Toulon in the Top 14, where he joined a star-studded squad amongst the likes of Matthieu Basteraud, Ma’a Nonu and Bryan Habana. Wilkinson ended his playing career in 2014, having also played for England at the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups, and wrapped up his tenure as the nation’s leading points scorer.
However, this accolade has since been surpassed by Owen Farrell, with the Saracen also taking Wilkinson’s honour as the top scoring player in Rugby World Cup history. Following his retirement, Wilkinson received a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) from Queen Elizabeth II, for his services to Rugby Union. Wilkinson has remained amongst the sport, firstly with his TV show ‘Jonny’s Hotshots’, and as an on-screen pundit and analyst for Six Nations and Rugby World Cup coverage. Wilkinson is also a published author, having brought a total of five books to print about his enthralling on-field career.
9. Matt Dawson
Three-time British & Irish Lion Matt Dawson ended his playing career in 2006, and seamlessly transitioned into the media side of the sport. Since 2004, Dawson had been a re-occuring face on TV show ‘A Question of Sport’, alongside former Scotland footballer Aly McCoist and retired England cricketer Phil Tufnel. Dawson remained active on the programme, and took part in numerous reality shows including ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and ‘Celebrity MasterChef’.
Dawson entered the world of broadcast journalism for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, as he covered the competition for the BBC. Dawson is also heavily involved in charity work, as he is the President of children’s medical research charity Sparks, and a patron for Beating Bowel Cancer, the National Hospital Development Foundation, and Lyme’s disease awareness charity The Big Tick. In 2015, Dawson took part in a cycle ride for Sparks, which saw him ride 150 miles from Wales’ Principality Stadium to England’s Twickenham Stadium in one day. He is also an honorary president for children’s charity Wooden Spoon, and has been a supportive backer of UNICEF since 2009.