Home Rugby England’s Greatest XV – Part 1

England’s Greatest XV – Part 1

England fans will always have their own ideas about the country’s greatest ever players, but we have decided to put together various statistically-based teams to help provide some more concrete evidence to support your claims for your favourites.

Let’s begin with the players that have won the most games for their country: The Winners XV.

The Winners XV

To highlight not only the success of the Clive Woodward years but also the quality of players available to him, the team is made up almost entirely of the 2003 World Cup-winning side.

In fact, the only players not to have played any part in that campaign are winger Rory Underwood and centres Will Carling and Jeremy Guscott.

England v Scotland Five Nations 1989

1) Jason Leonard 86/114 (76%)
2) Steve Thompson 49/73 (68%)
3) Phil Vickery 48/73 (66%)
4) Martin Johnson 67/84 (80.95%)
5) Danny Grewcock 44/69 (64%)
6) Richard Hill 50/71 (72%)
7) Neil Back 52/66 (80%)
8) Lawrence Dallaglio 60/85 (72%)
9) Matt Dawson 51/77 (67%)
10) Jonny Wilkinson 66/91 (73%)
11) Rory Underwood 55/85 (66%)
12) Will Carling 53/72 (74%)
13) Jeremy Guscott 51/65 (78%)
14) Ben Cohen 40/57 (70%)
15) Jason Robinson 38/51 (75%)

Portrait of Brian Moore of England at the England v France match

The Percentage XV

Which players have got the best winning percentage in each position? To make this a better indicator of quality, players with less than 40 caps have not been included.

1) Jason Leonard (76%)
2) Brian Moore (71%)
3) Dan Cole (68%)
4) Martin Johnson (81%)
5) Courtney Lawes (66%)
6) Tim Rodber (75%)
7) Neil Back (80%)
8) Dean Richards (74%)
9) Kyran Bracken (80%)
10) Jonny Wilkinson (73%)
11) Ben Cohen (70%)
12) Will Greenwood (82%)
13) Jeremy Guscott (79%)
14) Austin Healey (69%)
15) Jason Robinson (75%)

Now this is an interesting side. There are only eight World Cup winners in the team this time around and it includes two players who are currently playing for England in Dan Cole and Courtney Lawes.

It also includes a number of players whose career peaks were during the pre-Woodward days including Tim Rodber, Dean Richards and Brian Moore, but also motor-mouth Austin Healey, who was axed from the England squad just before the World Cup.

The Try Scorers XV


This is a team made up of the highest try scorers for each position.

The usual suspects are there in the back line, but Charlie Hodgson is England’s highest-try-scoring fly-half.

Wade Dooley makes an appearance in the second row thanks to the three tries he scored for his country, whilst Bruno Brown was an Australian-born prop who played 18 times for England and scored four tries, which is still a record for the loosehead prop position.

Phil Greening is also England’s best try scorer at hooker, so it is probably of no great surprise that he also made a name for himself as a Sevens player later in his career.

1) Bruno Brown (4)
2) Phil Greening (6)
3) Dan Cole (3)
4) Martin Johnson (2)*
5) Wade Dooley (3)
6) Richard Hill (12)
7) Neil Back (16)
8) Lawrence Dallaglio (17)
9) Matt Dawson (16)
10) Charlie Hodgson (8)
11) Rory Underwood (49)
12) Will Greenwood (31)
13) Jeremy Guscott (31)
14) Ben Cohen (31)
15) Jason Robinson (28)

* John Barton, Freddie Blakiston, Steve Borthwick, Danny Grewcock, Ben Kay, Joe Launchbury, Tim Rodber and Simon Shaw have all scored two tries playing in the second row for England

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll reveal another three teams to help you make up your own mind about England’s greatest ever team.

Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena

About The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.