England Rugby Union Forward.
ENGLAND RUGBY UNION FORWARD – WHO WAS ENGLAND’S GREATEST NUMBER SEVEN?
There have been many fine open-side flankers who’ve worn the famous white shirt of England. Players like Mike Rafter, Lewis Moody, Neil Back, and Tom Curry.
England Rugby Union Forward Wavell Wakefield revolutionised Back Row Play
In the 1920s there was the great Wavell Wakefield. He was probably the most crucial figure in the development of back row forwards, Wakefield used his athletic skills to change the flanker. From a static player to one who constantly pressurised the opposition half-backs. And supported attacks in open play. As well as the standard winning of the ball in rucks.
England Rugby Back-to-Back Grand Slams
In an era where forwards were selected primarily for their all-round skills. But, there was no fixed position in the early days. It wasn’t until 1923 that Wavell Wakefield. As pack leader allocated fixed positions to England’s forwards. Two were devolved to prop up their hooker. While two formed the second row. Behind them was a back-row of two wing-forwards on either side of a middleman. Who was then called the lock or lock-forward. The position from which the No 8 has evolved. England won the Grand Slam in 1923 and again in 1924. Moreover, specialism became the norm in the Home Unions.
Also, he won 31 caps for England, captaining them 13 times. And, had it not been for World War I. But, he would have added significantly to those. He was the first English inductee in the International Rugby Hall of Fame.
Peter Winterbottom renowned for his high work rate, durability, hard tackling, and courage
In modern times, there are few who can compare to the great Peter Winterbottom MBE. The back row forward was England’s most-capped openside (with 58 caps). Until he was overtaken by Neil Back in 2003. He made his England debut on 2 January 1982 against Australia. And his final appearance on 20 March 1993 against Ireland.
Winterbottom was known for his high work rate. His durability, hard tackling, and courage. The Yorkshireman competed with Michael Jones for the unofficial title of world’s best openside in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Nicknamed the ‘Straw Man’
Nicknamed ‘Straw Man’ because of his thatch of blond hair. Winterbottom was the jewel in Headingley’s crown. Combining his rugby with working on his uncle’s farm near Otley. In addition, he was a ferocious tackler, hitting hard and often dislodging the ball. And the more challenging the battle, the more he relished it.
Even as a young lad. Winterbottom aspired to play for England. To fast-track his development. In 1982 he spent a season playing in the rough-and-tough of New Zealand club rugby for Hawke’s Bay. Later, he played out for Transvaal.
England Rugby Debut & Lions Tourist in 1983 and 1993
His England debut came against Australia. In the match made famous for Erica Roe’s topless pitch walk. Also, he joined Harlequins and moved from Leeds to London.
He was selected on two British and Irish Lions tours. In 1983 and 1993. Both to New Zealand, where he impressed the locals with his fine play. He started all seven of those Tests and the All Blacks said they would be proud to call him one of their own. Dick Best. A Lions coach, was equally enamoured. “Winters,” he said, “is carved out of stone.”
Celebrating the great Grand Slam teams
Also, he was inducted onto the Twickenham “Wall of Fame” in November 2005. In addition, Ellis Rugby celebrates the many great team’s Peter Winterbottom played in. Firstly, our England Rugby 1991 Shirt 1992 Grand Slam. Secondly, the England Rugby 1991 Polo Shirt World Cup where the team reached the final. Finally our full England Rugby Collection.
In addition, you can listen to Peter Winterbottom HERE on the Ellis Rugby Podcast.