Meet the England Rugby 2015 Ambassadors
With the official HQ of RWC 2015 opening up directly across the street from Twickenham earlier this month, the plans and preparations for the next Rugby World Cup are now very much underway – and very much in the public eye.
During 2012, there will be a series of big announcements from England Rugby 2015 about the tournament, and the people who will be conveying these messages to the world are the ER 2015 Ambassadors.
RWC 2003 winners Jonny Wilkinson, Lawrence Dallaglio and Will Greenwood, along with current star of the England Women’s team, Maggie Alphonsi, have all been chosen for the role because of their outstanding rugby credentials.
Here we take a look at their World Cup pedigrees.
Women's Rugby World Cup Record: 2006-2010: P10 W8 L2, 10 points (2 tries)
WRWC Highlight: Despite losing 13-10 to a strong New Zealand side, England flanker and vice captain Alphonsi describes the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2010 Final at the Twickenham Stoop as her most memorable game – although her try-scoring, player-of-the-match performance against Ireland earlier in the tournament was another highlight.
Current role in rugby: One of the global stars of the Women’s Game, Alphonsi became the first woman in the 50-year history of the Rugby Union Writers' Club to be honoured with the prestigious Pat Marshall Memorial Award as personality of the year for 2010. And as someone who starred in a World Cup in England less than 18 months ago, she is determined to make RWC 2015 a huge success.
RWC Record: 1999-2007: P17 W14 L3, 5 points (1 try)
RWC Highlight: Known for his passion as much as his world-class ability, nothing demonstrated Dallaglio’s patriotism more than the way he was reduced to tears by the English national anthem before the RWC 2003 semi final against France. That commitment set the tone for that victory.
Current role in rugby: As well as regular work as a TV pundit, Dallaglio has spent a considerable amount of time on charity work since his retirement in 2008, raising money for a whole host of organisations. As a proud Englishman, he is looking forward to helping make sure the 2015 tournament in England is the best RWC ever.
RWC Record: 1999-2003: P10 W9 L1, 35 points (7 tries)
RWC Highlight: At half time in their RWC 2003 quarter final against Wales, England found themselves 10-3 behind and in trouble. Greenwood’s try at the start of the second half was one of five that made him the tournament’s joint top try scorer – but more importantly, turned around England’s ultimately victorious campaign.
Current role in rugby: Since retiring in 2006 with 55 England caps, Greenwood has become one of the most high-profile rugby pundits on British television. Passionate about grassroots rugby, Greenwood, along with former Wales captain Scott Quinnell, uses rugby to help troubled young people find employment in TV show School of Hard Knocks.
RWC Record: 1999-2011: P19 W15 L4, 277 points (1 try, 28 conversions, 58 penalties, 14 drop goals)
RWC Highlight: What else? Anyone who’s heard of Jonny Wilkinson has heard how he won Rugby World Cup 2003. That last-minute, extra-time drop goal that gave England their only Webb Ellis Cup success was the most dramatic climax to a RWC there has ever been.
Current role in rugby: After retiring from international rugby in December 2011, Wilkinson is now focusing on extending his club career at Toulon in France, where he recently signed a contract extension until 2013. As one of a select club of players to have played at four RWCs, he is more aware than most of the significance of the best rugby tournament on the planet.
To be first to receive the latest news and updates on RWC 2015, you can register at rugbyworldcup.com.