England legend Jason Robinson almost played for Six Nations rival instead

Jason Robinson, one of England’s most iconic rugby figures, recently revealed that he once considered honouring his mother by playing for Scotland.

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The cross-code star cemented his legendary status with a try in England’s historic 20-17 World Cup final victory over Australia in 2003 under Sir Clive Woodward.

A year later, Robinson made history by becoming the first black player to captain the men’s side and remains the only England player to have scored a try in a World Cup final.

However, in 2000, Robinson left Wigan for Sale and contemplated pledging his international future to his mother’s homeland, Scotland.

"The facts are that I'm half-Scottish and half-Jamaican," Robinson told Telegraph Sport. "I was brought up in Leeds but I grew up with my mother's side of the family as a Scot and I didn't know my real dad.

"We were a single-parent family, my mum was a cleaner who worked three jobs to provide for her family, and I was brought up with Scottish culture.

"Had there been a stronger Scotland team at the time, though, it certainly would have been a consideration to play for them. As it happened, that wasn't the case back in the day, so it was an easy decision to play for England.

"Once you nail your colours to the mast, you can't keep changing so I stuck with England. But my son, Lewis, played rugby league for Scotland and I've got another son who represented Scotland at under-16 level. It's been nice for my mum that they have done that, even though I didn't do it.

"I spent 10 years in rugby league, won 16 major trophies, and then switching to rugby union and playing in World Cups for England was just amazing. Winning the World Cup in 2003 changed my life, but it's also important that I pass my family heritage on to my kids."

What England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup heroes look like now, some are very different

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 in extra time.

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). 

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.’

Take a look at how some of the key players look now:

Phil Vickery

A former Gloucester and London Wasps prop, Phil Vickery called time on his career at the end of the 2010 Premiership season. The two-time British & Irish Lion was a revered opponent across the world, and has since started a successful clothing brand ‘Raging Bull’, with his on-field nickname. Vickery was forced into retirement due to a series of neck injuries, and in 2012 he joined Worcester Warriors as their Scrum Coach.

Vickery has also tried his hand at sports broadcasting, as he was apart of the commentary team for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. His on-screen appearances have also been witnessed across a variety of TV shows, including ‘Celebrity MasterChef’, which he won in 2011. An eternal fan favourite at Kingsholm Stadium, Vickery was appointed the title of Deputy Lieutenant of Gloucestershire in 2015.

Jonny Wilkinson

Renowned for his iconic drop-goal that secured victory against Australia in the 2003 final, Wilkinson transitioned into a coaching role with Toulon, focusing on kicking and skills development following his retirement. He also now works as a pundit for ITV Sport during Rugby World Cup’s and the Six Nations.

Will Greenwood

Greenwood continued to shine on the international stage following the 2003 glory, and went on to represent the British & Irish Lions for their 2005 tour to New Zealand. He ended his career at Harlequins in 2006, and soon gave his experienced views through analysis and punditry. Greenwood co-hosted the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ TV series with former Wales international Scott Quinnell, and was an on-screen analyst for ITV as England reached the final of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Will has also explored opportunities away from rugby, and is the current Chief Customer Officer for data and software company Afiniti’s London office. Greenwood’s family was struck with tragedy, after his son Freddie died just 45 minutes after being born. The former England centre underwent an inspirational walk to the North Pole in memory of his son, and helped to raise over £750,000 for Borne’s research. Greenwood is a patron of Borne, who are a medical research charity that work with cases of premature birth. He is also a patron of Child Bereavement UK, which is a charity that support parents who have lost a child.

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