Rugby World Cup winner Jason Robinson hopes past success can inspire England

  • Jason Robinson has been speaking to ITV Granada's David Chisnall

It's 20 years since England lifted the Rugby Union World Cup in what will forever be of the greatest moments in the country's sporting history.

Who can forget Jonny Wilkinson's dramatic drop goal at the end of extra time - that saw Sir Clive Woodward's side beat Australia to be crowned World Champions?

How time has flown since 2003.

Jason Robinson was the other Englishman on the scoresheet that day and remains the only man to score a try in a World Cup final for England.

Jason Robinson scores a try for England in the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup Final Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images

While the years roll on from that famous day the memories never get old for the former Sale Sharks and Wigan Warriors winger.

Jason Robinson says: "The last 90 seconds the scores are level. Matt Dawson makes a break up the middle, Jonny Wilkinson slots over the perfect drop goal for us to be the first team in the northern hemisphere to win a World Cup. One million people turned out in London, it changed English rugby going forward.

"Winning one is the ultimate achievement for any player. I was the council kid who'd never played rugby union and all of a sudden I win a World Cup with England. My life changed, I don't think I had to buy a pint for a long time after that!"

England's current squad kick off their 2023 World Cup campaign on Saturday against Argentina as they look to emulate the success of the 2003 team.

England squad training ahead of 2023 Rugby Union World Cup Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/PA Images

Steve Borthwick's squad go into the tournament with hopes of success subdued after a poor build up. But Robinson hopes they can take inspiration from the last time the World Cup was held in France.

He says: "I'm hopeful because I played in the 2007 World Cup in France and we were awful. We stumbled through the group stages and we came out and we got to a final so I'm hoping that's going to be the case for this team."   

Robinson's former club Sale Sharks have players George Ford, Manu Tuilagi, Bevan Rodd and Tom Curry in the England squad. Ford is expected to start Saturday's opening game against Argentina in place of captain and Wiganer Owen Farrell who's suspended for the first two group matches.

England captain Owen Farrell Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images

To go all the way in this tournament, England must keep their composure and show the traits that saw rugby top a Greene King poll for being the politest sport ahead of football and cricket.

Robinson saw the impact the 2003 win had on the game in this country and hopes the current team can also provide a boost in participation.

The England squad with the Webb Ellis Cup in front of fans at Trafalgar Square during the 2003 Rugby World Cup victory parade Credit: PA/PA Archive/PA Images

He says: "It's massive because that is what happened to us in 2003. Everybody wanted to pick up a rugby ball and try it for the first time, not just young boys but girls as well.

"It's great to see and encourage and hopefully create the next Jonny Wilkinson or Billy Whizz, so it's really key for rugby going forward."