Will Greenwood

William John Heaton Greenwood, MBE (born 20 October 1972) is an English former rugby union player who played for Leicester Tigers and Harlequins and was a member of England's 2003 World Cup-winning team.and the 1997 British & Irish Lions. He played in the centre, mainly as an inside centre.

Will Greenwood
Will Greenwood.jpg
Birth nameWilliam John Heaton Greenwood
Date of birth (1972-10-20) 20 October 1972 (age 48)
Place of birthBlackburn, Lancashire, England
Height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight15 st 10 lb (100 kg)
SchoolSedbergh School
UniversityDurham University
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Preston Grasshoppers
Waterloo R.F.C.
Correct as of 1988–1990
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Leicester Tigers
Correct as of 14 Sep 2006
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1997, 2001, 2005
British & Irish Lions
Correct as of 14 Sep 2006

He is the son of Dick Greenwood, who was a former England coach.

Early lifeEdit

Born 20 October 1972 in Blackburn, Lancashire, Greenwood was educated at St Mary's Hall[1] and Sedbergh School.[2] As a schoolboy, he was also a talented cricketer and played for the Lancashire Schools representative team before ultimately deciding to concentrate on rugby.[3] He graduated with a BA in Economics from Durham University in 1994.[4][5] He then worked as a trader at a bank in London.[6]



Greenwood played club rugby for Preston Grasshoppers, Waterloo, Harlequins and Leicester Tigers.

He left Harlequins and moved to Leicester Tigers in 1996 because the presence of England centre Will Carling meant he could not get first team rugby.

In 2000 he moved back to Harlequins after succumbing to poor form, not helped by the arrival of Australian Pat Howard that prevented him from getting first team rugby. His match-winning try to defeat Brive, in the European Shield quarterfinal on 27 January 2001, was voted the club's 2000/01 'Try of the Year'. He had already picked up an RFU Cup winner's medal with Leicester but tasted defeat in the final of the same competition with NEC Harlequins, at the hands of Newcastle Falcons in 2001.

Greenwood extended his contract with Harlequins when they were relegated to the National League 1.[7] He retired at the end of the 2005/06 season after helping them regain promotion.[8]


He was selected for the British & Irish Lions' tour to South Africa still uncapped, and ahead of then England captain Phil de Glanville, in the summer of 1997. During the tour, he swallowed his tongue on the pitch after a collision and stopped breathing for several minutes, and did not play in any of the test matches.[9]

He made his England debut in 1997. He became an important part of the England team, establishing a centre partnership with Jeremy Guscott. He later cemented his place in the England team for the Six Nations and World Cup in 2003. He formed a centre partnership with Mike Tindall or Mike Catt and wore the number 13 even if he played inside centre.[10] He was involved in all but one of England's games in the World Cup. Although he had rushed home due to his wife's difficult pregnancy, he returned to the side, scoring England's only try against South Africa, when he followed up to touch down after a Lewis Moody charge down.[6] His try against Wales in the quarter-final in Brisbane turned the match for England in a tight game. He finished the tournament as joint top try scorer with five.

He was made vice captain under Lawrence Dallaglio for the 2004 Six Nations tournament. He reached the 50 cap landmark against Ireland and played in all of England's Six Nations matches. He won the last of 55 England caps against Australia in 2004.

In 2005 Greenwood was injured for the Six Nations, but was selected for the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, his third Lions tour. He replaced Brian O'Driscoll just two minutes into the first test against New Zealand and also played in the third test.

After 55 England caps and 31 tries he announced his retirement at the end of the 2005/6 season[11]

Post RetirementEdit

Greenwood worked as an analyst for Sky Sports and regularly appears on 'The Rugby Club' and live premiership matches, as well as being (with Scott Quinnell) the co-presenter of the School of Hard Knocks Sky TV series. During the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Greenwood was employed by ITV as an analyst for live matches. He also writes a column on the Daily Telegraph discussing the England rugby team.[12] He is a co-founder of a travel and events business, SuperSkills Experiences[13]

In 2019, he was on the first panel to determine the World Rugby women's-15s player-of-the-year award with Melodie Robinson, Danielle Waterman, Liza Burgess, Lynne Cantwell, Fiona Coghlan, Gaëlle Mignot, Jillion Potter, Stephen Jones, and Karl Te Nana.[14]

Since November 2020, Will has been the Chief Customer Officer at Afiniti's London Office [15]

Personal lifeEdit

Greenwood and his wife, Caroline, have three children. They also had a son Freddie who died 45 minutes after his birth in 2002.[16] Greenwood is a patron of Child Bereavement UK, a charity which supports parents who have lost a child.[17][18] Greenwood is also a Patron of Borne, a medical research charity looking into the causes of premature birth.[19][20]

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.[21] Greenwood was awarded a Doctor of Civil Law honoris causa by his alma mater Durham University in January 2006.[22] In August 2014, Greenwood was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[23]

Away from rugby and cricket, Greenwood has been a supporter of Manchester City F.C. since he was 9 years old.[24][25]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Greenwood's secret past". BBC. 14 March 2001.
  2. ^ "Sedbergh School 1st XV see off Millfield to remain unbeaten for the season". Daily Telegraph. 22 December 2009.
  3. ^ "LSCA 90th Anniversary". Lancashire Cricket Board. 18 May 2012.
  4. ^ "Small Talk: Will Greenwood". The Guardian. 22 January 2010.
  5. ^ "Purple reign is Greenwood's university wish". The Journal. 26 April 2011.
  6. ^ a b "The Big Interview: Will Greenwood". London Evening Standard. 23 February 2010.
  7. ^ "Greenwood and Vos stay with Quins". BBC Sport. 18 May 2005.
  8. ^ "World Cup star Greenwood to quit". BBC Sport. 4 March 2006.
  9. ^ "Lions 2009: The day when rugby nearly cost Will Greenwood his life". Daily Telegraph. 5 June 2009.
  10. ^ "English Rugby's Fifty Cap Club – Will Greenwood profile: England rugby centre". Daily Telegraph. 13 July 2011.
  11. ^ "World cup star Greenwood to quit". BBC Sport. 4 March 2006. Retrieved 3 March 2010.
  12. ^ Columnists – Will Greenwood
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ worldrugby.org. "Stars join new-look World Rugby Awards panels". www.world.rugby. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  15. ^ "MEET OUR LOCAL LEADERSHIP TEAM". www.afiniti.com. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  16. ^ "There will always be something missing". Daily Telegraph. 11 May 2004. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014.
  17. ^ "Child Bereavement UK:: Patrons". Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  18. ^ "Will Greenwood - Personally Speaking Bureau". Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  19. ^ "Our Patrons and Ambassadors". Borne. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  20. ^ Borne (10 January 2018), Will & Caro Greenwood's Story, retrieved 22 May 2019
  21. ^ "Borne's Arctic Challenge 2018". Borne. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  22. ^ Ceremonies – William John Heaton Greenwood
  23. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". theguardian.com. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  24. ^ "Will Greenwood: I followed Manchester City through thick and thin in the bad old days". The Telegraph. 11 May 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  25. ^ "Will Greenwood: Manchester City have given me my No 1 sporting moment - ahead of winning Rugby World Cup". The Telegraph. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2014.

External linksEdit