Will Greenwood ‘rips up’ England backline and makes significant changes - Ruck

Will Greenwood ‘rips up’ England backline and makes significant changes

Will Greenwood has called for England to ditch their Marcus Smith-Owen Farrell axis following the 30-29 defeat to Argentina at Twickenham.

England led 16-12 at half-time, but Emiliano Boffelli and Santiago Carreras crossed in quick succession to turn the game on its head to put head coach Eddie Jones under serious pressure

The defeat left World Cup-winner Greenwood frustrated and demanding change ahead of the game against Japan next Saturday.


“I am definitely not pouring fuel on the flames here, I have always felt that they are both fly-halves and that you need to pick two centres,” wrote Greenwood in his column for The Telegraph.

“I am not saying that it cannot work, and there are times when it has brilliantly, like in the third Test against Australia. But if you are asking me what I would do, I would not play them in the same midfield.

“I would have Manu Tuilagi at 12 and Henry Slade at 13. That way you can keep Manu close to the ball, but equally the two of them are interchangeable.”

Greenwood also believes it’s time for Eddie Jones to move on from Ben Youngs to his more exciting protégé.

He wrote: “Ben Youngs has a million caps and is a wonderful human being, but you just sort of feel that it is time for Jack van Poortvliet. Here is the No 9 jersey, and go and have a dig with it.”

Eddie Jones replacement:

Greenwood believes former England boss Stuart Lancaster must be in the frame to replace Eddie Jones after the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

“When Eddie leaves his post, presumably post-2023, there will be a whole host of names in the mix. Steve Borthwick, Rob Baxter, Alex Sanderson, Scott Robertson, Andy Farrell. But for me you have to have Stuart Lancaster in that conversation,” wrote Greenwood in a previous column for the telegraph.

“I honestly believe he would be better a second time around.

“Failure is a vital part of success. Sir Clive Woodward probably would have lost his job in today’s climate after what happened in 1999 but he came back to win four years later. Graham Henry won the 2011 World Cup after being given another chance.

“Would Stuart want to come back? That is another question entirely.

“I haven’t asked him but I suspect the answer is yes. Stuart may be unassuming and softly-spoken but he is also a competitive animal. And a proud man. 

“I say this as a friend but he always looks good, if you know what I mean. He is a bloke who looks after himself physically. And he backs himself.”

Next charity challenge:

Greenwood has recently completed his latest charity challenge as he continues to raise money for a cause very close to his heart.

Borne, a charity that Will and his wife Caro are patrons of, specialises in medical research which aims to identify the causes of premature birth to save lives, prevent disability and create lifelong health for mothers and babies.

Greenwood first became involved with Borne after they lost their first child Freddie, who was born prematurely at 22 weeks, living only for 45 minutes. Jetting off to Costa Rica, Greenwood went coast-to-coast across the country by foot, by bike and by kayak in what is sure to be an epic challenge.

To find out more, you can visit http://borne.org.uk or to look at the World Cup-winning centres journey follow @willgreenwood on Instagram.


  1. Greenwood played club rugby for Preston Grasshoppers, Waterloo, Harlequins and Leicester Tigers
  2. He is the son of Dick Greenwood, who was a former England coach
  3. Greenwood graduated with a BA in Economics from Durham University in 1994
  4. In April 2018, he walked to the North Pole in memory of his son Freddie, who was born at 23 weeks, and helped raise over £750,000 for Borne’s research
  5. After 55 England caps and 31 tries he announced his retirement at the end of the 2005/6 season

LIST | 5 retired rugby players who are in better shape than you

These retired rugby players put us 20- and 30-somethings to shame when it comes to fitness.

If anything, this lot looks in better shape now than when they were at the peak of their playing powers.

1. Will Greenwood – 50

The former England centre has shared a photo of his current physique and it’s impressive to say the least!