- Available For Corporate Engagements, Along With Rugby Club Dinners, Lunches
William John Heaton “Will” Greenwood, MBE was born 20 October 1972 in Blackburn, Lancashire and is a former English rugby union player.Will is now available as a Corporate after dinner speaker, reflecting on his distinguished rugby career and winning the famous 2003 World Cup.
He was educated at St. Mary’s Hall, Stonyhurst, where his mother taught mathematics until 2007. His father, Dick Greenwood, was assistant bursar at Stonyhurst College where he also coached rugby with Brian Ashton; and Sedbergh School.
He played in the centres, mainly at inside-centre, although he was able to perform extremely well at outside-centre, as he showed on a number of occasions. However, he always wore the No. 13 shirt, this because of superstition.
He played his club rugby for the Harlequins, having also played for Preston Grasshoppers, Waterloo and Leicester Tigers. He graduated with a BA in Economics from Hatfield College, Durham in 1994.
His father Dick Greenwood played at flanker for and later coached the England Rugby Union team. 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.
Despite some impressive performances for Leicester in 1997, he was overlooked by the England coach Jack Rowell, but was selected for the 1997 British Lions tour to South Africa still uncapped, and ahead of then England captain Phil de Glanville. 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 tests. Ironically this was one of the few games where Greenwood, contrary to his superstition wore a number 12 jersey. He also toured with the Lions in 2001 but injury again prevented him from playing.
Subsequently picked by new England coach and ex-Tigers centre Clive Woodward he became an important part of that team, notably establishing a centre partnership with Jeremy Guscott. In 2000 he moved back from Tigers to ‘Quins after succumbing to poor form, not helped by the arrival of Australian Pat Howard that prevented him from getting first team rugby. His individual match winning try to defeat Brive, in the European Shield quarterfinal (27th January 2001), was voted the clubs 2000/01 ‘Try of the Year’. He had already picked up an RFU Cup winners’ medal with Tigers but this time tasted defeat in the final of the same competition with NEC Harlequins, at the hands of Newcastle Falcons in 2001.
He rebounded and was involved in all but one of England’s games in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, scoring England’s only try against South Africa, when he followed up to touch down after a Lewis Moody charge down. His try against Wales in the quarter-final in Brisbane turned the match for England in a surprisingly tight game against the men in red. 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. At the start of the 2004/5 season he stood on 30 tries. He was the top try scorer in the Six Nations for the past two years, using his innate ability to spot a weakness in midfield. 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 and 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.
In 2006, after 55 England English rugby union caps and 31 tries he announced his retirement at the end of the the 2006/7 season and he currently works as an analyst for Sky Sports and regularly appears on ‘The Rugby Club’ and live premiership matches. During the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Greenwood was employed by ITV as an analyst for live matches.
Will is available for Corporate engagements, along with Rugby Club Dinners, Lunches etc and is proving a very popular figure.