England national rugby league team

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Badge of England team
Team information
Governing body Rugby Football League
Region Europe
Head coach Wayne Bennett
Captain Sean O'Loughlin
Most caps James Graham (37)
Top try-scorer Ryan Hall (34)
Top point-scorer Kevin Sinfield (202)
RLIF ranking 3rd
First colours
Second colours
Team results
First international
 England 9–3 Other Nationalities
(Wigan, England; 5 April 1904)
Biggest win
 United States 0–110 England 
(Orlando, Florida, USA; October 2000)
Biggest defeat
 Australia 52–4 England 
(Melbourne; 2 November 2008)
World Cup
Appearances 5 (first time in 1975)
Best result Runners-up; 1975, 1995

The England national rugby league team represent England in international rugby league football tournaments. The team has now seen a revival, having largely formed from the Great Britain team, who also represented Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The team is run under the auspices of the Rugby Football League. As of 2008, the team now participates in all World Cups, Four Nations and test matches.[1]

The team dates back to 1904 when they played against a mixture of Welsh and Scottish players in Wigan.[2] Since then, and until the 1950s, they regularly toured Australia and New Zealand and played both home and away matches against neighbours Wales and France. But when it was decided that Great Britain would tour the Southern Hemisphere instead of England, France and Wales became the only regular opponents. Even then though, there are some long periods where England barely played any matches. Their first appearance in the Rugby League World Cup was in 1975, and since then they have become runners-up in 1975 and 1995, the latter tournament being held in England. In 2008, they competed in the 2008 World Cup in Australia. For many years England also competed in the European Nations Cup and in 2006, an England 'A' team, competed for the Federation Shield. In the past England's main rivals have been Wales and France, with the rivalry stretching back to 1908 and 1934 respectively. However, England's main rivals would now be Australia, New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, France.

Traditionally a predominantly white kit is worn including white shorts and socks. However the jersey usually features some form of red, like red stripes, crosses or chevrons. These colours are similar to other English sporting teams and are the colours used on the national flag. In 2008 a new kit was introduced featuring a red cross on the front and red strips down the sides of the jersey, shorts and socks were white too with red strips.[3] Also in 2008, the Rugby Football League chose to abandon the traditional English lion on the badge in favour of a much simpler shield and cross design.[4]

Currently the team is ranked third in the world, behind Australia and New Zealand. Wayne Bennett is the head coach and Sean O'Loughlin is the current captain.


The first matches[edit]

In 1895 twenty-one clubs split with the Rugby Football Union, citing that they wanted to play professionally, and formed the Northern Rugby Football Union. The twenty-one clubs were all from Northern England and the players were largely working class. However it was not just English players who made the switch, Scottish and Welsh players also switched allegiance to the new code, wanting payments for playing. Switching heightened in the early 20th century with more Scottish and Welsh players leaving the RFU than ever before.

The England national rugby union team had been playing international matches since 1871, but it was not until 1904, nine years after the formation of the new code, that an international rugby league match was played. At the start of 1903 season the Northern Union thought about international matches and scheduled a match for England on New Year's Day 1904 in Oldham. On that day though, the ground was frosty and the match was cancelled and it was rescheduled for April.

On 5 April 1904 England competed against a team called "Other Nationalities", who were made up of ten Welshman and two Scotsman, including George Frater, who captained the side. It was a period of experimentation for the Northern Union and each team had twelve players, not thirteen. At Central Park, Wigan the ground was muddy and in poor condition, however the match went ahead. England steamed into a 3–0 lead, from a try by Warrington's Jackie Fish. This is despite Salford's James Lomas arriving late and causing England to start the match with eleven players. Fish missed the conversion and so the Other Nationalities were able to level the scores a little later, Welshman Thomas crashing over for a try. The conversion was missed and going into half-time the score was tied 3–3. In the second half Thomas went over for another try before Wigan's Harris sealed a 9–3 win for the Other Nationalities in the final minutes of the match. A total of 6,000 spectators turned up for the match, which was considered a poor showing despite a Broughton Rangers v Bradford cup clash being scheduled on the same day.

In 1905 a match between the two sides was played at Bradford. This time England won 26–11 even though they were losing 11–0 at half-time. Wigan's Jim Leytham scored four tries in succession, a record that still stand today.[5] The match was played with fifteen players on each side and so was the 1906 match. Played in Wigan again, the match finished a 3–3 draw. The concept was abandoned after the 1906 match. By 1908 the game had expanded much more into Australia, New Zealand and Wales and England began playing those teams. Harold Wagstaff made his debut for England in 1908 against the touring Kangaroos team at 17 years and 228 days.[6]

The Other Nationalities side did return in 1921. An England side beat the Australasian team of the 1921–22 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain 4–5 at Highbury. England played only one international between 10 May 1956 and 7 November 1968 an 18–6 victory at Headingley Rugby Stadium, Leeds.

1975 World Cup debut[edit]

England played at the World Cup in 1975 coached by Alex Murphy, which was played over several months in both hemispheres on a league basis. Normally Great Britain would represent England in the World Cup, but the RLIF wanted to capitalise on the large amount of Welsh players in the game at the time, and so England and Wales fielded separate teams.

England won their first match, a 20–2 victory over France in Leeds in March. In June the Lions suffered their first defeat in just their second match of the tournament, losing 12–7 against a strong Wales side in Brisbane. A little later England managed to hold on for a draw against Australia in Sydney, the final score being 10–10. And they also picked up a point in Auckland, drawing 17–17 against New Zealand. At the end of October, after the domestic season had finished, England beat the Welsh 22–16 in Warrington and then crossed the English Channel to thrash a French side 48–2 in Bordeaux. Bradford played host the England versus New Zealand match, in which England won comfortably 27–12.

At the start of November, England squeezed past Australia winning 16–13 in November at Wigan. This meant that the Kangaroos had finished on 13 points, with the Lions on 12 points. Australia were deemed champions by finishing top of the table, but because they had not beaten England a final match was quickly arranged. Australia beat England 25–0 at Leeds to clinch their fourth title.

1995 World Cup and hiatus[edit]

With the break up of the Great Britain team into its individual nations, England (as co-host) were in the 1995 World Cup, their first appearance in the World Cup since 1975. England were coached by Phil Larder. The Lions got off to a flying start beating Australia 20–16 in the opening game at Wembley, then hammering Fiji and South Africa in the remaining group games to finish top of group A. This set up a semi-final game at Old Trafford against Wales. England won the tussle 25–10 to reach the World Cup final, but they lost 16–8 to Australia at Wembley Stadium. England would not play again until 2000.

The 1995 World Cup saw the first change of the England strip in a number of years. Instead of the usual all-white kit, an offset red St George's Cross was added to both the front and back of the jumper.

2000 World Cup[edit]

John Kear was coach of England for the World Cup in 2000. Compared to 1995, England had little success, losing their opening game at Twickenham 22–2 against Australia. But they won their remaining two pool games against Fiji and Russia. A surprisingly competitive display by Ireland in the quarter-finals, saw England scrape through to the semi-finals 26–16. England then went down to a record defeat, losing 49–6 to New Zealand at Bolton, and were knocked out of the tournament.[7]

2008-2009: Tony Smith era[edit]

England at the 2008 World Cup

Australian born Tony Smith took charge of England in 2008 and his first game was against France in Toulouse where his Lions won 56–8. In his second game England were missing St Helens and Leeds Rhinos players but the team still created history with a record 74–0 win over Wales in Doncaster. It was England's biggest win they recorded over Wales since 1978.[8] Smith has been living in England since he first arrived to play for Workington in 1996 and he controversially became a neutralised British citizen on 8 September 2008 in Huddersfield.[9] It was World Cup year and he announced his ambitions that he wanted England to win their first World Cup since 1972 when Great Britain represented the country at the event. In the event they were placed in Group A alongside hosts Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. England faced a scare in their opening game against Papua New Guinea as the Lions were trailing 16–12 at halftime but they did go on to win the game. They were humiliated in their second game against the hosts suffering their biggest defeat to date, beating their 43-point margin against New Zealand eight years ago.[10] In their final pool game against New Zealand they produced a much better performance but for only 28 minutes as they gave up a 24–8 lead to lose 24–36. Before and during the match England were accusing New Zealand of being soft, however after the match media outlets were calling England the biggest losers of the tournament. Controversy also occurred before the game kicked off, when England refused to face New Zealand's haka challenge. Smith said 'In some cultures poking your tongue out at others could be seen as insulting and the Kiwis pushed things too far by crossing into England’s side of halfway.'[11][12][13] They took on New Zealand again in the semi-final. This time they never had the lead over the Kiwis as they lost the match by 10 points. After rumours Smith would be sacked from his position, the RFL announced they'd keep faith in Smith for the remainder of his contract. The World Cup players took the blame for their performances.[14]

After the World Cup nightmare, England began 2009 on a high-note with a record breaking 54 point away win over France.[15] Later that year, England were co-hosts of the year's major international tournament the inaugural Four Nations. After thrashing them earlier in the year, England faced a shock half-time deficit in their opening game against a French side coached by former Great Britain international Bobbie Goulding. But despite trailing at the interval, England scored 30 consecutive points to record another victory over 'Les Tricolores'. They then took on New Zealand and, after losing to them twice at last year's World Cup, England earned revenge with an 8-point win over the Kiwis. England then went on to make the final to face Australia again after losing to them by 10 points a week earlier. In the final England at one point led 16–14 and were credited with how they were able to produce a real contest. However, in the final quarter of the game, Australia dominated proceedings and eventually went on to win 46–16. On 16 November 2009, A few hours after crediting that the England national team had a bright future in rugby league, Smith resigned from the England national team.

2010-2015: Steve McNamara era[edit]

Steve McNamara's first game in charge as England coach was against France in Leigh in 2010. England thrashed the French to keep their impressive winning run going over their opponents that dates back to 1981. McNamara also fielded the first brothers, Sam and Joel Tomkins, to start on the field for England since Paul and David Hulme represented Great Britain in 1989.

At the end of the 2011 club season, England co-hosted the 2011 Four Nations with Wales. They took on their co-hosts in the opening game in Leigh and they won in a game where Sam Tomkins scored a record equalling four tries in one game. The win meant England kept their impressive record of not losing on home soil against Wales since 1977. England then met New Zealand in a must win game at the KC Stadium after losing to Australia at Wembley. England thrashed the Kiwis by 22 points setting up a rematch of the 2009 Four Nations final at Elland Road. In the final England at one point were tied at 8–8, but they would be outclassed again. England were held 'try-less' in the second half as Australia won by 22 points.

In mid-2012, the second International Origin series was held. The Exiles had won the first series in 2011 after Samoan International George Carmont scored a try with less than 40 seconds remaining to win the game for the Exiles. England won their first ever International Origin series game after winning game 1 of the 2012 series held in St Helens by 8 points. However the Exiles would win the 2012 series after recording a bigger winning margin in game 2. In October and November that year, England competed in the Autumn Internationals where they took on Wales, and France. In their first game, England racked up their biggest points tally against Wales as they thrashed 'the Red Dragons' 80–12 in Wrexham.[16] In their second game against France, fullback Sam Tomkins became England's top try scorer when he scored his 14th try for England, breaking the record set by former Wigan and St Helens winger Alf Ellaby in 1935. In the final, England had a rematch with France at Salford City Stadium. England thrashed their opponents to win their first tournament title since the 2004 European Nations Cup.

In the lone 2013 International Origin game, England thrashed their opponents by 20 points. At the end of the year, the 2013 World Cup was held in England and Wales. England, who were now known as the 'Wall of White', featured a new record of three brothers in their squad: Sam and twins George and Tom Burgess. England played their first game against Australia in Cardiff. England got off to a surprising early lead for many when they were up 10–0 after 20 minutes. England, however, went on to lose in what was one of their best displays against the Kangaroos in years, losing 20–28. They then went on to thrash Ireland to nil in front of a record crowd in Huddersfield, in a game which saw Ryan Hall become the new England top try-scorer after a hat-trick took him to tally 17 total tries for his country. England also beat a determined Fiji in front a sold-out crowd at the KC Stadium to advance to the quarter-finals. They took on European rivals France in Wigan and after trailing 6–0 early, England went on to advance to the semi-finals to meet defending World Champions New Zealand at Wembley. It was a see-saw affair which saw England leading 18–14 with one minute on the clock remaining until New Zealand play-maker Shaun Johnson produced a historical moment to level the scores and then convert his try after the siren to win the match and make the Kiwis advance to a third consecutive World Cup Final. This was the first time England or Great Britain had lost to New Zealand in England since 2005.[17]

In October and November 2014 England travelled down-under to play in the 2014 Four Nations. In the opening game, England took on Samoa in an affair which saw the lead change several times. In the end England survived a shock result occurring after winning by 6 points. In the second game against Australia controversy occurred. Australia led 16–12 with one minute left on the clock. England player Liam Farrell put a grubber-kick in the in-goal area which forced Australian fullback Greg Inglis to force the ball dead however the video referees decided to have a look and see whether or not Inglis or the incoming Ryan Hall got the last touch on the ball. On the slow-motion replays it showed that Ryan Hall's right hand's little finger had put some downward pressure on the ball however in normal speed it was deemed 'inconclusive' by Australian officiating rules. It was eventually given a no-try to the anger of English players and fans. Ryan complained on Twitter saying "Looking at the video, I’d say it was a try if we’re playing Super League rules..." Had Hall scored and England converted it would have been England's first win over Australia since 1995, the first time Australia suffered back-to-back home defeats since 1970 and the first time Australia didn't qualify for a tournament final since the 1954 World Cup final.[18][19] England lost their final game against New Zealand and in the process ending any chance of qualifying for their first Four Nations final in the Southern Hemisphere.

In 2015 England took on New Zealand in a three match series held in England. Before the series, England recorded their biggest ever win over France, beating their previous 73–6 win in 1996.[20] England beat New Zealand 2–1 in the Baskerville Series to retain the trophy that Great Britain last won in 2007.[21] During that series vice-captain James Graham reached the milestone of becoming England's most capped player, surpassing Kevin Sinfield's record of 27 test appearances. Despite the series victory, McNamara was facing scrutiny beforehand and the RFL decided not to renew his contract which expired after the series. McNamara therefore left the England national team.

2016-present: Wayne Bennett era[edit]

Before his first game in charge of the national team, legendary Australian coach Wayne Bennett demanded the RFL for England to have a pre-season training camp, a mid-season international in 2017 (the first since the 2013 International Origin fixture), as well as shortening the 2017 Super League season in order to prepare for the 2017 World Cup which he desires to win. RFL President Nigel Wood accepted Bennett's first two demands but said shortening the domestic season is a "big disturbance in lots of ways..."[22] Bennett's plans suffered criticism from some professional club coaches.[23]



1995 World Cup
2000 World Cup
2008 World Cup
2013 World Cup
2014 Four Nations
2016 Four Nations
2017 World Cup

Media coverage[edit]

The BBC have the rights to screen all England games. They showed every game England competed in at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup as well as all their Four Nations games.


The old logo was used until 2008
The last logo was used until 2017
  • The Lions crest

The badge was originally a combination of the St. George's cross, the Three Lions Coat of Arms of England and Tudor rose. It was similar to most other English sporting badges, such as the England national football team and the English national cricket team which all promote similar attributes.

  • The Shield Crest

The new official logo was launched on 6 February 2008 on the rugby league magazine programme Boots N' All. The cross of St George is positioned across a three-dimensional shield within the design. The date "1895" is placed through the centre of the cross, symbolising the birth of rugby league. Many people involved in the sport were consulted throughout the design process, which took a little under a year. The logo was first used for the 2008 World Cup and was replaced in 2017.

  • Three Lions Cross

As part of a rebrand across all of the RFL in 2017, a new England crest was introduced. It is a merge of both the shield crest and the old lions crest. It has the St. Georges cross on the background with three lions in front of it.

Kit suppliers and sponsors[edit]

Period Manufacturers Sponsors
1995-1999 Germany Puma John Smiths
2000-2007 England Patrick Lincoln Financial Group
2008-2010 Germany Puma Gillette
2010-2015 Australia ISC
2015 Australia BLK
2016-2017 Kingstone Press Cider
  • In a test match against France on 22 October 2016, Kingstone Press was replaced by Rugby to the Core due to the Evin law.

Coaching staff[edit]

Head coach Australia Wayne Bennett
Assistant coach England Denis Betts
Assistant coach England Paul Anderson
First team coach England Paul Wellens
Team manager England Jamie Peacock
Fitness coach England Chris Baron
Media Manager England Garry Miller
Physiotherapist David O’Sullivan

Current squad[edit]

The England national team squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.[24]

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Pts Club
Fullback Jonny Lomax (1990-09-04) 4 September 1990 (age 27) 4 0 Saintscolours.svg St Helens
Fullback Stefan Ratchford (1988-07-19) 19 July 1988 (age 29) 1 4 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves
Wing Ryan Hall (1987-11-27) 27 November 1987 (age 29) 32 128 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos
Wing Jermaine McGillvary (1988-05-16) 16 May 1988 (age 29) 5 16 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants
Centre Mark Percival (1994-05-29) 29 May 1994 (age 23) 3 4 Saintscolours.svg St Helens
Centre Kallum Watkins (1991-03-12) 12 March 1991 (age 26) 20 36 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos
Stand-off Kevin Brown (1984-10-02) 2 October 1984 (age 33) 6 4 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves
Stand-off Gareth Widdop (1989-03-12) 12 March 1989 (age 28) 21 118 St. George colours.svg St George Illawarra Dragons
Stand-off George Williams (1994-10-31) 31 October 1994 (age 23) 5 4 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
Halfback Luke Gale (1988-06-22) 22 June 1988 (age 29) 3 14 Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers
Prop Sam Burgess (1988-12-14) 14 December 1988 (age 28) 18 32 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs
Prop Tom Burgess (1992-04-21) 21 April 1992 (age 25) 14 8 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs
Prop James Graham (1985-09-10) 10 September 1985 (age 32) 33 8 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Prop Chris Hill (1987-11-03) 3 November 1987 (age 30) 19 0 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves
Prop Scott Taylor (1991-02-27) 27 February 1991 (age 26) 2 0 Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C.
Prop Alex Walmsley (1990-04-10) 10 April 1990 (age 27) 0 0 Saintscolours.svg St Helens
Hooker Josh Hodgson (1989-10-31) 31 October 1989 (age 28) 11 8 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders
Hooker James Roby (1985-11-22) 22 November 1985 (age 31) 26 20 Saintscolours.svg St Helens
Second-row John Bateman (1993-09-30) 30 September 1993 (age 24) 6 8 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
Second-row Ben Currie (1994-07-15) 15 July 1994 (age 23) 0 0 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves
Second-row Mike McMeeken (1994-05-10) 10 May 1994 (age 23) 1 0 Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers
Second-row Elliott Whitehead (1989-09-04) 4 September 1989 (age 28) 10 16 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders
Lock Chris Heighington (1982-07-14) 14 July 1982 (age 35) 5 8 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Lock Sean O'Loughlin (Captain) (1982-11-24) 24 November 1982 (age 34) 18 20 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors


  • As of 19 November 2017
  • Bold- denotes player still active at club level

Most capped players[edit]

James Graham is England's most capped player
# Name Career Caps Tries Position
1 James Graham 2008– 37 3 PR
2 Ryan Hall 2009– 35 34 W
3 James Roby 2008– 28 5 HK
4 Kevin Sinfield 2000–2013 27 5 SO
5 Ben Westwood 2004–2014 25 3 PR
Gareth Widdop 2010– 25 6 SO
7 Adrian Morley 2000–2012 23 1 PR
Sam Tomkins 2009– 23 17 FB
Kallum Watkins 2012– 23 12 CE
Chris Hill 2012– 23 0 PR
11 Sean O'Loughlin 2009– 22 5 LF
12 Joe Egan 1943–1950 21 1 HK
Jamie Peacock 2000–2011 21 8 PR
14 Ken Gee 1943–1951 20 1 PR
Sam Burgess 2008– 20 8 SR
16 Ernest Ward 1941–1952 19 2 FB
Roger Millward 1969–1978 19 3 W
18 Tom Burgess 2013– 18 3 PR
19 George Fairbairn 1975–1981 16 5 FB
Gareth Ellis 2008–2012 16 2 SR

Top try scorers[edit]

Ryan Hall is England's all-time top try scorer
# Name Career Tries Caps Position
1 Ryan Hall 2009– 34 35 W
2 Sam Tomkins 2009– 17 23 FB
3 Alf Ellaby 1927–1935 13 8 W
4 Rob Burrow 2003–2013 12 15 H
Kallum Watkins 2012– 12 23 CE
6 Keith Fielding 1975 11 8 W
Tom Briscoe 2009– 11 15 W
Jermaine McGillvary 2015– 11 10 W
9 Charlie Carr 1924–1928 9 7 W
Mark Calderwood 2004–2008 9 9 W
Josh Charnley 2012–2014 9 8 W

Top points scorers[edit]

Kevin Sinfield is England's top points scorer
# Name Career Points Caps Position
1 Kevin Sinfield 2000–2013 202 27 SO
2 Gareth Widdop 2010– 147 25 SO
3 Ryan Hall 2009– 136 35 W
4 George Fairbairn 1975–1981 118 16 FB
5 Andy Farrell 1995–2001 78 11 SO
6 Sam Tomkins 2009– 68 23 FB
7 Ernest Ward 1941–1952 58 19 FB
8 Jimmy Ledgard 1947–1955 54 12 FB

Competitive record[edit]

Overall record[edit]

England have played 200 games in their history with the first being played in 1904. The team have only been playing regularly since 1995, playing 84 of their games from then to the semi-final of the 2017 World Cup at an approximate average of 4 games a year. This means that in the preceding 91 years before 1995, the team played just 116 games. The reason for this lack of games is because the home nations were represented by Great Britain for most of the 20th century, playing 322 games. England and the other home nations mainly only played in the European Cup while England and Wales regularly played friendlies in the earlier decades of the 20th century. If games played by the Great Britain team are taken into account, English players have actually taken part in 522 games between 1904 and 2017 up to the 2017 world cup semi-final.

England have played 21 different teams over their history with 6 of these being representative teams. They hold a 0% win record against only one national team, Italy, by whom they were beaten 14-15 in a friendly at the AJ Bell Stadium, Salford as a warm-up to the 2013 World Cup. England have played Wales the most with 69 games played, winning 50 of these. Because the home nations were represented by Great Britain for most of their history England have only played Ireland 3 times and Scotland once.

England played their 200th game when they took on Papua New Guinea in the quarter-final of the 2017 World Cup.

Opponent Matches Won Drawn Lost Win %
Total 200 131 9 60 65.5%
 Aotearoa Māori 1 0 1 0 0%
Australasia 3 2 0 1 66.6%
 Australia 17 2 1 14 11.8%
Australia Combined Affiliated States 1 1 0 0 100%
Cumbria Cumbria 1 0 1 0 0%
Exiles 4 2 0 2 50%
 Fiji 3 3 0 0 100%
 France 49 39 2 8 79.6%
 Ireland 3 3 0 0 100%
 Italy 1 0 0 1 0%
 Lebanon 1 1 0 0 100%
 New Zealand 16 6 1 9 37.5%
Other Nationalities 16 8 1 7 50%
 Papua New Guinea 4 4 0 0 100%
 Russia 3 3 0 0 100%
 Samoa 2 2 0 0 100%
 Scotland 1 1 0 0 100%
 South Africa 1 1 0 0 100%
 Tonga 2 2 0 0 100%
 United States 1 1 0 0 100%
 Wales 69 50 2 17 72.5%

World Cup[edit]

England have competed five times in the World Cup; in 1975, 1995, 2000, 2008 and 2013. They have never won the competition, though finished runners-up to Australia in 1975 and 1995. In every other year, Great Britain have represented England. Despite having only played in 5 world cups, England have hosted matches in 8 different tournaments including 3 that took part internationally. England have played 28 games in the world cup, winning 15, drawing 2 and losing 11. Of those losses, only one has been against a team other than New Zealand or Australia, when Wales won 7-12 in the 1975 tournament. England lost out on reaching the final in 2013, when New Zealand beat them 20-18 after Shaun Johnson scored a conversion in the last 30 seconds of the game to secure the win.

World Cup Record
Year Round Position Pld Win Draw Loss
France 1954 Did not enter
Australia 1957
England 1960
Australia New Zealand 1968
England 1970
France 1972
United Nations 1975 Final 2nd out of 5 9 5 2 2
Australia New Zealand 1977 Did not enter
United Nations 1985-88
United Nations 1989-92
England 1995 Final 2nd out of 10 5 4 0 1
United Kingdom Ireland France 2000 Semi-final 4th out of 16 5 3 0 2
Australia 2008 Semi-final 3rd out of 10 4 1 0 3
England Wales 2013 Semi-final 3rd out of 14 5 3 0 2
Australia New Zealand Papua New Guinea 2017 Qualified
England 2021
United States Canada 2025

Four Nations[edit]

England replaced Great Britain in competing in the Rugby League Four Nations which replaced the previous Tri Nations tournament. They have been runners up twice in 2009 and 2011, these two tournaments also having been hosted by England.

Four Nations Record
Year Round Position Pld
England France 2009 Final 2nd out of 4 5
Australia New Zealand 2010 Group Stage 3rd out of 4 4
England Wales 2011 Final 2nd out of 4 5
Australia New Zealand 2014 Group Stage 3rd out of 4 4
England 2016 Group Stage 3rd out of 4 4

European Championship[edit]

England have competed in twenty-six European Nations Cups, the first in 1935. In the past the tournament has been axed and revived many times, and it was stopped for six years because of the Second World War. From 1935 to 1949 (minus the war years) England played France and Wales annually, and won the tournament in 1935, 1946, 1947 and 1948. From 1950 to 1956 an Other Nationalities team were added as the fourth team in the competition (except in 1956 when Wales did not field a team). During those years England won in 1950 and 1954. Since then the tournament has run for some seasons, but never for more than five years at a time. But from 1970 to 1996 England won it six out of a possible nine times. In 2003 the tournament was revived and England comfortably won, beating her old rivals plus Scotland, Ireland and Russia. England beat the same opponents to win the cup again in 2004. This was the last time England competed to give the competition more of a level playing field for other teams, however the England Knights competed in 2012.

European Championship Record
Year Round Position Pld
1935 Winners 1st out of 3 2
1935-36 Group Stage 2nd out of 3 2
1936-37 Group Stage 2nd out of 3 2
1938 Group Stage 3rd out of 3 2
1938-39 Group Stage 2nd out of 3 2
1945-46 Winners 1st out of 3 2
1946-47 Winners 1st out of 3 2
1947-48 Winners 1st out of 3 2
1948-49 Group Stage 2nd out of 3 2
1949-50 Winners 1st out of 4 3
1950-51 Group Stage 3rd out of 4 3
1951-52 Group Stage 2nd out of 4 3
1952-53 Group Stage 3rd out of 4 3
1953-54 Winners 1st out of 4 3
1955-56 Group Stage 3rd out of 3 2
1969-70 Winners 1st out of 3 2
1975 Winners 1st out of 3 2
1977 Group Stage 3rd out of 3 2
1978 Winners 1st out of 3 2
1979 Winners 1st out of 3 2
1980 Winners 1st out of 3 2
1981 Group Stage 2nd out of 3 2
1995 Group Stage 2nd out of 3 2
1996 Winners 1st out of 3 2
2003 Winners 1st out of 6 3
2004 Winners 1st out of 6 3

Minor tournaments[edit]

Year Position Played Won Draw Lost
England Federation Shield Winners 4 0 0 0
England Baskerville Shield Winners 3 2 0 1


World Cup:
Runners-up (2): 1975, 1995
Semi-finalists (3): 2000, 2008, 2013

Four Nations:
Runners-up (2): 2009, 2011

European Championship:
Winners (14):1935, 1945–46, 1946–47, 1947–48, 1949–50, 1953–54, 1969–70, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1996, 2003, 2004

Federation Shield:
Winners (1): 2006

Baskerville Shield:
Winners (1): 2015


Official Rankings as of October 2017
Rank Change Team Points
1 Same position  Australia
2  New Zealand
3  England
4  Scotland
5  Samoa
6  France
7 Rise  Fiji
8 Fall  Ireland
9 Same position  Wales
10  United States
11  Tonga
12 Rise  Italy
13  Jamaica
14 Fall  Serbia
15  Canada
16  Papua New Guinea
17 Rise  Malta
18  Lebanon
19 Fall  Russia
20  Belgium
21  Spain
22 Rise  Norway
23  Greece
24 Same position  Cook Islands
25 Fall  Ukraine
26  Czech Republic
27 Rise  Netherlands
28 Fall  Germany
29 Rise  Hungary
30 Fall  Sweden
31 Same position  Niue
32 Fall  Denmark
33  South Africa
34 Same position  Philippines
35 Rise  Vanuatu
36 Fall  Thailand
37  Chile
38 Rise  Solomon Islands
39 Fall  El Salvador
40 Rise  Uruguay
41 New entry  Bulgaria
42 Fall  Latvia
43  Morocco




Highest Home Per Nation[edit]

Competition Country Attendance Stadium Date
2013 World Cup Semi-Final New Zealand New Zealand 67,545 Wembley Stadium, London 23 November 2013
1995 World Cup Final Australia Australia 66,540 Old Wembley, London 28 October 1995
1995 World Cup Semi-Final Wales Wales 30,042 Old Trafford, Manchester 21 October 1995
1995 World Cup Group Stage Fiji Fiji 26,263 Central Park, Wigan 11 October 1995
2013 World Cup Group Stage Ireland Ireland 24,375 John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield 2 November 2013
2013 World Cup Quarter-Final France France 22,276 DW Stadium, Wigan 16 November 2013
2016 Four Nations Round-Robin Scotland Scotland 21,009 Ricoh Arena, Coventry 5 November 2016
1995 World Cup Group Stage South Africa South Africa 14,014 Headingley Rugby Stadium, Leeds 14 October 1995
2000 World Cup Group Stage Russia Russia 5,736 Knowsley Road, St. Helens 1 November 2000
Federation Shield Samoa Samoa 5,698 KC Stadium, Hull 5 November 2006
Friendly Italy Italy 4,382 Salford City Stadium, Salford 19 October 2013
Federation Shield Tonga Tonga 3,000 Halton Stadium, Widnes 12 November 2006

Highest Home All-Time[edit]

Competition Country Attendance Stadium Date
2013 World Cup Semi-Final New Zealand New Zealand 67,545 Wembley Stadium, London 23 November 2013
1995 World Cup Final Australia Australia 66,540 Old Wembley, London 28 October 1995
2015 Baskerville Shield New Zealand New Zealand 44,393 Olympic Stadium, London 7 November 2015
2011 Four Nations Round Robin Australia Australia 42,344 Wembley Stadium, London 5 November 2011
1995 World Cup Group Stage Australia Australia 41,271 Old Wembley, London 7 October 1995
2016 Four Nations Round Robin Australia Australia 35,569 Olympic Stadium, London 13 November 2016
2011 Four Nations Final Australia Australia 34,174 Elland Road, Leeds 19 November 2011
2000 World Cup Group Stage Australia Australia 33,758 Twickenham, London 28 October 2000
2009 Four Nations Final Australia Australia 31,042 Elland Road, Leeds 14 November 2009
1995 World Cup Semi-Final Wales Wales 30,042 Old Trafford, Manchester 21 October 1995

Other England teams[edit]

England Knights[edit]

In 2011 the England Knights were created to serve as a step up for the younger players from their club in view of playing for the 1st team. A squad of players were chosen (below the age of 25) to represent the Knights in a few games. Their first ever game was against France and the Knights came out 38–18 victors.

The Knights won the 2012 European Cup by beating Ireland and Scotland in a 3-game tournament.

England Lionesses[edit]

Famous players[edit]

The following players played for England and are either British Rugby League Hall of Fame inductees, or are one of the top five caps, tries, goals, or points scorers for England. Although both Gus Risman, and Jim Sullivan were Welsh, they are British Rugby League Hall of Fame inductees, and actually played for England, as well as for Wales and Great Britain. British Rugby League Hall of Fame inductee Vince Karalius was English (of Lithuanian heritage), and although he played for Great Britain, he never played for England, as England games were limited in his playing era.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Rugby Football League – Brand England Launched Archived 27 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 24 May 2008.
  2. ^ RL1895 – The First International Archived 1 April 2004 at Archive.is Retrieved on 6 June 2008.
  3. ^ England Official Website – New Shirt Launched Archived 11 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 18 June 2008.
  4. ^ England Official Website – New Logo Archived 11 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 18 June 2008.
  5. ^ England Official Website – A Proud Past Retrieved on 18 June 2008.
  6. ^ Norris McWhirter, Donald McFarlan (1992). The Guinness Book of Records 1992. Guinness World Records Limited. p. 290. ISBN 978-0-85112-378-3. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  7. ^ Brook, Kip; NZPA (20 November 2000). "Slick Kiwis storm into final". New Zealand Herald. New Zealand: APN Holdings NZ Limited. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  8. ^ "England crushes sorry Wales 74-0". theguardian. 12 October 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  9. ^ "Tony Smith: Out of the frying pan into the fire for 'our' blue-chip leader". INDEPENDENT. 12 October 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  10. ^ "Australia 52-4 England". theguardian. 2 November 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  11. ^ "England 24-36 New Zealand: Laughing Stock". Mirror. 2 November 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  12. ^ "Rancour at 'diver' Luke cannot hide ineptitude that makes England the World Cup's laughing stock". theguardian. 10 November 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  13. ^ "England to face up to haka at final". stuff sport. 14 November 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  14. ^ "Smith cleared of blame for World Cup farrago". theguardian. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  15. ^ "France 12-66 England: Richie Myler stars as Lions romp to victory". Mirror. 14 June 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  16. ^ "Autumn International Series: England thrash Wales". BBC SPORT RUGBY LEAGUE. 27 October 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  17. ^ "England 18 New Zealand 20: Last-gasp heartbreak as late penalty and Sinfield's missed tackle put holders into Cup final". Daily Mail. 24 November 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  18. ^ "England target Kiwi revenge after TV denies last-minute try against Australia". theguardian. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  19. ^ "Four Nations: England denied late try as Australia win in Melbourne". skySPORTS. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2016. 
  20. ^ "England demolish France 84-4 in record win". skySPORTS. 24 October 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  21. ^ "England resist late fightback from New Zealand for series win". skySPORTS. 14 November 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  22. ^ "Wayne Bennett and England to have pre-season camp and play mid-year international". skySPORTS. 20 July 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  23. ^ "Cunningham blasts Bennett's 'unfair' England plans". St Helens thereporter. 1 July 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  24. ^ "England Rugby League World Cup 2017 squad announced". rlwc2017.com. 10 October 2017. 

External links[edit]