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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 August 2007, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
What happened to the class of 2003?



Trevor WoodmanSteve ThompsonEnter alt textPhil VickeryMartin JohnsonBen KayRichard HillNeil BackLawrence Dallaglio

By Bryn Palmer

TREVOR WOODMAN 5 matches at 2003 RWC Age (now) 31 Caps 22 (0 tries)

Only played seven more Tests for England after 2003. After joining Sale from Gloucester in 2004, he sustained a back injury in training that September which ultimately forced him to retire prematurely in the summer of 2005. Subsequently moved to Australia, where he has done some commentary for Australian TV and coaching in colleges.

STEVE THOMPSON 6 matches (1 try) Age 29 Caps 47 (5 tries)

Remained a regular in the England side after 2003, and rediscovered his top form on the Lions tour of New Zealand in 2005. But suffered what proved a career-ending back injury in Northampton's Heineken Cup quarter-final with Biarritz in January, retiring in April at just 28. Moving to France to take up a coaching and consultancy role with Brive.

PHIL VICKERY 7 matches Age 31 Caps 55 (2 tries)

Restricted to 17 caps in the last four years after three career-threatening back operations, but defied medical logic to return with a winning try against South Africa last autumn, and become Brian Ashton's choice as England captain since January, leading them into the 2007 World Cup. Ended 11 years with Gloucester when he joined Wasps in 2006.

MARTIN JOHNSON 7 matches Age 37 Caps 84 (2 tries)

The great man bowed out of Test rugby in January 2004 following England's triumph, Played on for Leicester that season and one more before retiring in May 2005. Linked with a coaching or managerial role ever since, but content to limit his involvement in rugby for now to ambassadorial roles for World Cup sponsors and would-be hosts.

BEN KAY 6 matches Age 31 Caps 46 (2 tries)

Endured mixed fortunes since 2003, losing form and his England place for the 2006 and 2007 Six Nations, but included in the World Cup squad heading to France after a strong season with his club Leicester. Also made the Lions tour of New Zealand in 2005, but dropped after the disastrous first Test. Remains an experienced line-out expert though.

RICHARD HILL 3 matches Age 34 Caps 71 (12 tries)

The only player Sir Clive Woodward never dropped as England coach, but a cruel run of injuries restricted him to just eight more caps after 2003. Had seven months on sidelines after knee operation in October 2004 but still made 2005 Lions tour, only to damage other knee in first Test. Returned for Saracens this season after another 16 months out.

NEIL BACK 6 matches (2 tries) Age 38 Caps 66 (17 tries)

Dropped after 2003 World Cup and retired from Test rugby after being recalled but then left on the bench for 2004 Six Nations defeat to Ireland. But became the oldest ever Lion, at 36, when Sir Clive Woodward picked him for the 2005 tour, after his final season for Leicester. Now Tigers' defensive coach, and forwards coach of academy and reserve teams.

LAWRENCE DALLAGLIO 7 matches (1 try) Age 35 Caps 80 (17 tries)

Replaced Martin Johnson as captain but retired from Test rugby in September 2004 after punishing tour down under. Made himself available for 2005 Lions but tour ended with broken ankle in first game. Returned to England duty as replacement in 2006 Six Nations, but recent Test with France was his first start in three years. Heading to third World Cup.



SEE ALSO
England win Rugby World Cup
22 Nov 03 |  Internationals
Injury forces Woodman to retire
24 Aug 05 |  Internationals
Injury forces Thompson to retire
15 Apr 07 |  English
Prop Vickery seals move to Wasps
26 Apr 06 |  English
Johnson backs Japan 2011 RWC bid
17 Oct 05 |  Internationals
Rugby's ultimate warrior
24 Jan 05 |  Rugby Union
Johnson quits England
17 Jan 04 |  Internationals
Special Kay
02 Nov 06 |  Rugby Union
Kay feared end of England career
30 May 06 |  Internationals
Hill battles back
29 Nov 06 |  Rugby Union
Back to retire
15 Mar 04 |  Internationals
Dallaglio makes training squad
15 Jun 07 |  English
Dallaglio returns to England fold
18 Jan 06 |  Internationals
England wore me down - Dallaglio
17 Jan 06 |  Internationals
Dallaglio ends Test career
31 Aug 04 |  Internationals


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