England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup heroes reunite for the first time in two decades to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of their historic Jonny Wilkinson-inspired victory in Australia

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  • Wednesday’s event marked the first time all 31 squad members were reunited 
  • Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal 28 seconds from time sealed the World Cup victory 
  • Worse-for-wear Prince Harry had to be helped out of the after party on the night 

England’s Rugby World Cup-winning side of 2003 were all reunited once again on Wednesday at an event in London, 20 years after their iconic victory over Australia. 

Sir Clive Woodward’s England lifted the William Webb Ellis trophy for the first – and so far only – time in 2003, after a Jonny Wilkinson drop goal against George Gregan’s Australia. 

Woodward’s side are still the only northern hemisphere side to win the World Cup, with the other nine tournaments won by South Africa (four), New Zealand (three) and Australia (two). 

The current incarnation of the side made it all the way to the semi-finals this time round, despite coming in as rank outsiders, before a narrow one-point defeat to eventual champions, the Springboks. 

But on Thursday it was all about looking into the past, as Wilkinson, Woodward, Martin Johnson and Co all assembled for a Class of 2003 reunion at the Eventim Apollo in London. 

England's World Cup-winning side from 2003 were all reunited for the first time in London

England’s World Cup-winning side from 2003 were all reunited for the first time in London 

The squad took centre stage at the Eventim Apollo, 20 years after their victory over Australia

The squad took centre stage at the Eventim Apollo, 20 years after their victory over Australia

Wilkinson and South African-born team-mate Mike Catt pose with the trophy at the event

Wilkinson and South African-born team-mate Mike Catt pose with the trophy at the event

Josh Lewsey (L) and Andy Gomarsall (R) also struck a pose with the silverware in London

Josh Lewsey (L) and Andy Gomarsall (R) also struck a pose with the silverware in London

Wednesday’s show marked the first time that all 31 members of the World Cup squad were back in the same place, with fans able to buy tickets to attend. 

The squad looked back at their achievement and shared a number of personal memories and moments that might have previously escaped attention. 

In a video posted by England Rugby’s Instagram account, Wilkinson – who scored the all important drop goal 28 seconds from time – said: ‘It’s great being back with all the guys from the squad 20 years on.

‘It’s great to be able to see everyone, and to get a feel of what everyone’s been up to, but also to I guess get a feel for why we were able to do what we did 20 years ago, because it still lives on in everyone.’

The squad members posed for photos together, and were given the chance to catch up, having all gone their separate ways since retirement. 

Wilkinson, Woodward and No 8 Lawrence Dallaglio all regularly feature on ITV’s rugby coverage, while captain Martin Johnson went on to coach the side from 2008-2011. 

Mike Tyndall has had arguably the biggest 20 years, marrying Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter Zara Phillips eight years after that famous day. 

The squad posed for retro-style polaroid pictures on the night (Picture left to right: Wilkinson, Johnson, Jason Robinson, Matt Dawson)

The squad posed for retro-style polaroid pictures on the night (Picture left to right: Wilkinson, Johnson, Jason Robinson, Matt Dawson)

Trevor Woodman, Ben Cohen, Kyran Bracken and Lewis Moody also snapped a polariod picture

Trevor Woodman, Ben Cohen, Kyran Bracken and Lewis Moody also snapped a polariod picture

Fly-half Wilkinson kicked the decisive drop goal with just 28 seconds left on the clock

Fly-half Wilkinson kicked the decisive drop goal with just 28 seconds left on the clock 

Martin Johnson skippered the team that lifted the William Webb Ellis trophy after beating Australia

Martin Johnson skippered the team that lifted the William Webb Ellis trophy after beating Australia

But the former centre joked that his old team-mates were hardly recognisable from their heyday, claiming that they ‘just look like 31 really old men’.   

‘We were all sat down and it just looks like 31 really old men now!’ he said. 

‘Catty (Mike Catt) I haven’t seen for ages, who I played with for a long time for Bath as well as England, but he’s been doing wonderful things with Ireland so I just haven’t seen him. 

‘It’s been very nice. Very surreal, but very, very nice.’ 



Post source: Daily mail

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