England national rugby league team

Last updated

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Team information
NicknameWall of White, Three Lions
Governing body Rugby Football League
Region Europe
Head coach Shaun Wane
Captain Sam Tomkins
Most caps James Graham (44)
Top try-scorer Ryan Hall (35)
Top point-scorer Kevin Sinfield (202)
IRL ranking 3rd
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First colours
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Second colours
Team results
First international
Flag of England.svg  England 9–3 Other Nationalities
(Wigan, England; 5 April 1904)
Biggest win
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 0–110 England  Flag of England.svg
(Orlando, Florida, USA; October 2000)
Biggest defeat
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 52–4 England  Flag of England.svg
(Melbourne; 2 November 2008)
World Cup
Appearances6 (first time in 1975 )
Best resultRunners-up; 1975, 1995, 2017

The England national rugby league team represents England in international rugby league.


The team, largely formed from the Great Britain team which also represented Wales, Scotland and Ireland, is run under the auspices of the Rugby Football League. It participates in the Rugby League World Cup, Four Nations and Test matches. [1]

The team dates to 1904, when they played against a mixture of Welsh and Scottish players in Wigan. [2] 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.

Their first appearance in the Rugby League World Cup was in 1975. They have been three times runners-up; in 1975, 1995 and 2017. England also competed in the European Nations Cup, and, in 2006, an England 'A' team competed for the Federation Shield.

England's main rivals historically were Wales and France, with the rivalries stretching back to 1908 and 1934 respectively. England's main rivals now are Australia and New Zealand.

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 New Zealand and Australia. Shaun Wane is the head coach, and Sean O'Loughlin the captain.

In 2019, it was announced that England will compete against Australia in future Rugby League Ashes series. Formerly the Ashes were contested between Great Britain and Australia up until 2003. The first Ashes series since 2003 was due to take place in 2020 but was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


The first matches

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

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 number 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

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

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

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England at the 2008 World Cup

Australian born, Tony Smith, took charge of England in 2008. His first game was against France in Toulouse where the English 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 recorded over the Welsh since 1978. [8]

2008 World Cup

It was World Cup year, and Smith 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 Smith's men were trailing 12–16 at halftime, but they did go on to win the game. England 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. [9] 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.' [10] [11] 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. [12]

After the World Cup nightmare, England began 2009 on a high-note with a record-breaking 54-point away win over France. [13]

2009 Four Nations

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'. In the second match against Australia, England impressively kept Australia scoreless in the second half, and staged a second-half comeback. However it wasn't enough, as Smith's men needed to recover from a 26-point half-time deficit. 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. 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 English national side.

2010–2015: Steve McNamara era

Following Tony Smiths resignation, former Bradford Bulls head coach Steve McNamara was given the job. His first game in charge of England was against France in Leigh. 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. [14]

2011 Four Nations

The following year, England co-hosted the 2011 Four Nations with Wales. Their opening game was a win against Wales 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. A loss the following week to Australia at Wembley meant that they had to beat New Zealand to make the final, which they did. 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. [15] 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. [16] 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.

2013 World 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 0–6 early, England went on to advance to the semi-finals to meet defending World Champions, New Zealand, at Wembley. The game 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]

2014 Four Nations

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 did not 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, ended any chance of qualifying for their first Four Nations final in the Southern Hemisphere.

2015 Baskerville Shield

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. [22] 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.

2016-2019: Wayne Bennett era

Following McNamara's contract expiration, the RFL appointed Australian Wayne Bennett on a 2-year contract, with a view to win the 2017 World Cup. Bennett's first request as coach was for England to have a pre-season training camp, a mid-season international in 2017, as well as shortening the 2017 Super League season in order to prepare for the 2017 World Cup. RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood accepted Bennett's first two demands, but said shortening the domestic season is a "big disturbance in lots of ways..." [23] Bennett's plans suffered criticism from some professional club coaches. [24]

2016 Four Nations

Bennett's first match was against France in Perpignan, in preparation for the 2016 Four Nations. Despite trailing, and being held scoreless in the first 26 minutes, England did go on to avoid an upset, convincingly beating the French and giving Bennett a successful return to the International scene, 8 years after he left the New Zealand assistant coach role. However England went onto having a disappointing Four Nations, losing the opening game to New Zealand, facing a scare against Scotland, before going on to lose a 'must-win' game against Australia. This marked the first time that England failed to qualify for a Four Nations final while being hosts.

At the end of 2016, Bennett announced that the England pre-season 'heat training camp' in Dubai would be cancelled after taking in the consideration of domestic coaches' concerns. [25] [26] Instead of a pre-season training camp, Bennett and the English coaching staff chose an Elite Performance Squad of players, based in England, who would be scouted regularly throughout the 2017 season. The squad trained six times throughout the season in England. [27]

England's first game of 2017 was a convincing result over Samoa, although Bennett came under criticism of his selections for the test-match. Former Great Britain captain Garry Schofield, along with other former players, media, and fans were angered by Bennett's decision to include Australian born players Chris McQueen and Chris Heighington, who are eligible to play through their English fathers. Heighington's age was also a talking point. At the age of 35, it was suggested younger players such as Liam Farrell, Alex Walmsley, Mark Percival, and Scott Taylor, should have been selected instead. [28] [29]

2017 World Cup

Bennett only named one Australian, Chris Heighnington, in his England team for the World Cup, while Zak Hardaker missed out due to a drugs ban. England's first game of the World Cup was against Australia. Although they were credited throughout the match for the way they were able to defend and prevent the Australians from dominating the game like they have in the past they again failed to beat Australia. Despite the defeat, England continued their way through the tournament with convincing victories over Lebanon, France, finishing second in Group A. They then went on to beat Papua New Guinea convincingly in the quarter finals before reaching the semi-finals where they would take on Tonga who had knocked New Zealand out the week before. England led 20–0, with seven minutes left on the clock, before the Tongans began an unpredictable and nerve-wracking comeback for England. With less than one minute left on the clock, Andrew Fifita lost control of the ball before regathering it and putting it over the try-line, only to realise the referee had already blown his whistle. The referee was criticised for not going to the Video Referee and if awarded would have seen that Tonga won the game and reached their first ever World Cup final. [30] Despite the controversy, England were victorious and had advanced to their first World Cup Final in 22 Years. [31] England met Australia again in the final but again failed to beat Australia, for a 13th consecutive time, since their last win in the 1995 World Cup group stage. England lost in the lowest World Cup final score in the history of the tournament. [32] Bennets contract expired at the end of the World Cup and despite not winning the tournament he was rewarded with another 2-year contract. [33]

2020-present: Shaun Wane era

On 3 February 2020, it was announced that Shaun Wane would replace Bennett as Head Coach on a 2-year contract with the intention of leading England in the 2020 Ashes series and the 2021 World Cup. [34]

2020 Rugby League Ashes Series

On 7 November 2019, it was confirmed that the Rugby League Ashes would return in 2020, after a 17-year hiatus. The competition, which was traditionally contested between Australia and Great Britain, was due to feature England for the first time but was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The series was intended to be Wane's first games in charge of the national team.


Kits and colours

England traditionally play in white while they occasionally play in a red away kit but colour clashes are rare and they rarely wear an away kit.

While their original strip was white with red hoops, in the 1975 World Cup they played in a fully white kit. It wasn't until 1995 when they began wearing their iconic cross on the front of their kit.

Kit evolution

Early Strip 1975 WC 1995 WC 2000 WC 2008 WC 2011-2012
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2013 WC 2014-2016 2017 WC 2018-
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Kit suppliers and sponsors

1975 Umbro
1995-1999 Puma John Smiths
2000-2007 Patrick Lincoln Financial Group
2008-2010 Puma Gillette
2010-2015 ISC
2015 BLK
2016-2017 Kingstone Press Cider
2018-2020 Hummel Dacia
2021-2026 Oxen


From the 1995 Rugby League World cup, it was used a crest with 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. Until the mid 1990s, England simply used a red lion rampant as 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.

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.

Media coverage

The BBC have the rights to screen all England games. They showed every game England competed in at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, as well as all their Four Nations, and Baskerville Shield games.

Coaching staff

Head coach Flag of England.svg Shaun Wane
Assistant coach Flag of England.svg Paul Anderson
First team coach Flag of England.svg Paul Wellens
Team manager Flag of England.svg Jamie Peacock
Fitness coach Flag of England.svg Chris Baron
Media Manager Flag of England.svg
PhysiotherapistDavid O’Sullivan
Performance Analyst Flag of England.svg Barry Frost

Current squad

The England national team squad for the 2021 April training camp. [35]

Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsPtsClub
John Bateman Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
Tom Burgess
Daryl Clark
Mike Cooper
Ben Currie
Niall Evalds
Herbie Farnworth
Liam Farrell Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
Luke Gale
Oliver Gildart Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
Josh Griffin
Ash Handley
Zak Hardaker Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
Josh Hodgson
Tom Johnstone
Toby King
Morgan Knowles
Jonny Lomax
Jermaine McGillvary
Paul McShane
Tommy Makinson
Dom Manfredi Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
Harry Newman
Mark Percival
Joe Philbin
Stefan Ratchford
James Roby
Dan Sarginson
Ryan Sutton
Luke Thompson
Sam Tomkins
Alex Walmsley
Kallum Watkins
Elliot Whitehead
George Williams


Most capped players

James Graham is England's most capped player James Graham England.jpg
James Graham is England's most capped player
1 James Graham 2008–2020443 PR
2 Ryan Hall 2009–3835 W
3 James Roby 2008–315 HK
4 Chris Hill 2012–290 PR
5 Gareth Widdop 2010–287 SO
6 Kevin Sinfield 2000–2013275 SO
7 Ben Westwood 2004–2013263 SR
8 Sean O'Loughlin 2009–2018255 LF
Sam Tomkins 2009–2518 FB
Kallum Watkins 2012–2512 CE
Tom Burgess 2013–253 PR
12 Adrian Morley 2000–2012231 PR
Sam Burgess 2008–2018238 SR
14 Joe Egan 1943–1950211 HK
Jamie Peacock 2000–2011218 PR
16 Ken Gee 1943–1951201 PR
Elliott Whitehead 2014–207 SR
18 Ernest Ward 1941–1952192 FB
Roger Millward 1969–1978193 W
Josh Hodgson 2014–193 HK

Top try scorers

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Ryan Hall is England's all-time top try scorer
1 Ryan Hall 2009–3538 W
2 Sam Tomkins 2009–1825 FB
3 Alf Ellaby 1927–1935138 W
4 Rob Burrow 2003–20131215 HK
Kallum Watkins 2012–1225 CE
Jermaine McGillvary 2015–1217 W
7 Keith Fielding 1975118 W
Tom Briscoe 2009–1115 W
9 Charlie Carr 1924–192897 W
Mark Calderwood 2004–200899 W
Josh Charnley 2012–98 W

Top points scorers

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Kevin Sinfield is England's top points scorer
1 Kevin Sinfield 2000–201320227 SO
2 Gareth Widdop 2010–17128 SO
3 Ryan Hall 2009–14038 W
4 George Fairbairn 1975–198111816 FB
5 Andy Farrell 1995–20017811 SO
6 Sam Tomkins 2009–7425 FB
7 Ernest Ward 1941–19525819 FB
8 Jimmy Ledgard 1947–19555412 FB
9 Jamie Rooney 2006524 SO
10 Richie Myler 2008–508 SH

Team Records

110-0 v.Flag of the United States.svg  United States (at Orlando, Florida, October 2000)
52-4 v.Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia (at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, 2 November 2008)
67,545 v.Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand (at Wembley, 23 November 2013)


  • 4 (10 players):
Jim Leytham v. Other Nationalities (at Odsal, 2 January 1905)
Stan Moorhouse v.Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales (at Plymouth, 15 February 1913)
Peter Norburn v. Other Nationalities (at Central Park, 28 November 1953)
Keith Fielding v.Flag of France.svg  France (at Bordeaux, 11 October 1975)
Stuart Wright v.Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales (at Knowsley Road, 28 May 1978)
Martin Offiah v.Flag of France.svg  France (at Thunderdome, 12 June 1996)
Tony Clubb v.Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea (at Auckland, 6 November 2010)
Sam Tomkins v.Flag of France.svg  France andFlag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales (at Leigh Sports Village, 12 June 2011 and 29 October 2011)
Josh Charnley v.Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales (at Racecourse Ground, 27 October 2012)
Ryan Hall v.Flag of France.svg  France (at Salford City Stadium, 11 November 2012)
  • 15:
Wayne Godwin v.Flag of Russia.svg  Russia (at Moscow, 25 Oct 2004)
  • 34:
Wayne Godwin v.Flag of Russia.svg  Russia (at Moscow, 25 Oct 2004)

Competitive record

Overall record

England have played 205 competitive (non friendly or exhibition) games in their history, with the first being played in 1904. The team have only been playing regularly since 1995, playing 91 of their games from then up to and including the third test of the 2018 Baskerville Shield against New Zealand. 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 529 games between 1904 and 2018 up to and including the third Baskerville Shield test of 2018.

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.

Below is a list of England's head to head record as of 12 July 2021. [36]

OpponentMatchesWonDrawnLostWin %ForAgaDiff
Tino Rangatiratanga Maori sovereignty movement flag.svg  Aotearoa Māori 10100%18180
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 25721628%281558–277
Exiles 420250%8068+12
Flag of Fiji.svg  Fiji 3300100%14622+124
Flag of France.svg  France 48392781.25%1256492+764
Four Provinces Flag.svg  Ireland 3300100%10428+76
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 10010%1415–1
Flag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon 1100100%2910+19
Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 1991947.37%342374–32
Other Nationalities 1791752.94%360351+9
Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea 4400100%14450+94
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 2200100%1748+166
Flag of Samoa.svg  Samoa 3300100%10050+50
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 1100100%3812+26
Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 1100100%460+46
Flag of Tonga.svg  Tonga 3300100%9250+42
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 1100100%1100+110
Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 685021673.53%1510801+709

World Cup

England have competed six times in the World Cup; in 1975, 1995, 2000, 2008, 2013 and 2017. They have never won the competition, though finished runners-up to Australia in 1975, 1995 and 2017. In every other year, Great Britain have represented England. Despite having only played in 6 world cups, England have hosted matches in 8 different tournaments including 3 that took part internationally. England have played 34 games in the world cup; winning 20, drawing 2 and losing 12. 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. England reached the world cup final in 2017, but were beaten by Australia with a score of just 6–0.

As hosts of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup and as a team who reached the quarter finals in the previous world cup, England automatically qualified.

World Cup Record
Flag of France.svg 1954 Did not enter
Flag of Australia (converted).svg 1957
Flag of England.svg 1960
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Flag of New Zealand.svg 1968
Flag of England.svg 1970
Flag of France.svg 1972
Flag of the United Nations.svg 1975 Final2nd out of 59522
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Flag of New Zealand.svg 1977 Did not enter
Flag of the United Nations.svg 1985-88
Flag of the United Nations.svg 1989-92
Flag of England.svg 1995 Final2nd out of 105401
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Four Provinces Flag.svg Flag of France.svg 2000 Semi-final4th out of 165302
Flag of Australia (converted).svg 2008 Semi-final3rd out of 104103
Flag of England.svg Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg 2013 Semi-final3rd out of 145302
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Flag of New Zealand.svg Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg 2017 Final2nd out of 146402
Flag of England.svg 2021 Qualified
Flag of the United States.svg Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg 2025

Four Nations

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
Flag of England.svg Flag of France.svg 2009 Final2nd out of 45
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Flag of New Zealand.svg 2010 Group Stage3rd out of 44
Flag of England.svg Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg 2011 Final2nd out of 45
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Flag of New Zealand.svg 2014 Group Stage3rd out of 44
Flag of England.svg 2016 Group Stage3rd out of 44

European Championship

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
1935 Winners1st out of 32
1935-36 Group Stage2nd out of 32
1936-37 Group Stage2nd out of 32
1938 Group Stage3rd out of 32
1938-39 Group Stage2nd out of 32
1945-46 Winners1st out of 32
1946-47 Winners1st out of 32
1947-48 Winners1st out of 32
1948-49 Group Stage2nd out of 32
1949-50 Winners1st out of 43
1950-51 Group Stage3rd out of 43
1951-52 Group Stage2nd out of 43
1952-53 Group Stage3rd out of 43
1953-54 Winners1st out of 43
1955-56 Group Stage3rd out of 32
1969-70 Winners1st out of 32
1975 Winners1st out of 32
1977 Group Stage3rd out of 32
1978 Winners1st out of 32
1979 Winners1st out of 32
1980 Winners1st out of 32
1981 Group Stage2nd out of 32
1995 Group Stage2nd out of 32
1996 Winners1st out of 32
2003 Winners1st out of 63
2004 Winners1st out of 63

Minor tournaments

Flag of England.svg 2006 Federation Shield Winners4000
Flag of England.svg 2015 Baskerville Shield Winners3201
Flag of England.svg 2018 Baskerville Shield Winners3201


World Cup :
Runners-up (3): 1975, 1995, 2017
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, 2018

CompetitionGold medal icon.svgSilver medal icon.svgTotal
World Cup 033
Four Nations 022

World Ranking

IRL World Rankings
Official Men's Rankings as of July 2021
1Increase2.svg 2Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
2Decrease2.svg 1Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
3Decrease2.svg 1Flag of England.svg  England
4Steady2.svgFlag of Tonga.svg  Tonga
5Steady2.svgFlag of Fiji.svg  Fiji
6Increase2.svg 4Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea
7Steady2.svgFlag of Samoa.svg  Samoa
8Decrease2.svg 2Flag of France.svg  France
9Decrease2.svg 1Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
10Decrease2.svg 1Flag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon
11Increase2.svg 5Flag of Greece.svg  Greece
12Steady2.svgFour Provinces Flag.svg  Ireland
13Increase2.svg 1Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
14Decrease2.svg 3Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales
15Increase2.svg 4Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
16Increase2.svg 1Flag of Malta.svg  Malta
17Increase2.svg 1Flag of Norway.svg  Norway
18Decrease2.svg 3Flag of the United States.svg  United States
19Increase2.svg 4Flag of Poland.svg  Poland
20Decrease2.svg 7Flag of Jamaica.svg  Jamaica
21Decrease2.svg 1Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary
22Increase2.svg 3Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic
23Increase2.svg 5Flag of the Cook Islands.svg  Cook Islands
24Increase2.svg 7Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey
25Decrease2.svg 1Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
26Increase2.svg 4Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
27Decrease2.svg 6Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
28New.pngFlag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria
29Decrease2.svg 2Flag of the Solomon Islands.svg  Solomon Islands
30Increase2.svg 10Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden
31Increase2.svg 4Flag of Germany.svg  Germany
32Increase2.svg 1Flag of Chile.svg  Chile
33New.pngFlag of Ghana.svg  Ghana
34Increase2.svg 16Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco
35Decrease2.svg 3Flag of Vanuatu.svg  Vanuatu
36Steady2.svgFlag of South Africa.svg  South Africa
37Decrease2.svg 8Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
38New.pngFlag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon
39Decrease2.svg 2Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine
40Increase2.svg 1Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
41Increase2.svg 4Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil
42Steady2.svgFlag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium
43Increase2.svg 4Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark
44Increase2.svg 4Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria
45Increase2.svg 4Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia
*Change from July 2019


Highest Home Per Nation

23 November 2013 Flag of New Zealand.svg New Zealand 67,545 Wembley Stadium, London 2013 World Cup Semi-Final
28 October 1995 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia 66,540 Old Wembley, London 1995 World Cup Final
21 October 1995 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales 30,042 Old Trafford, Manchester 1995 World Cup Semi-Final
11 October 1995 Flag of Fiji.svg Fiji 26,263 Central Park, Wigan 1995 World Cup Group Stage
2 November 2013 Four Provinces Flag.svg Ireland 24,375 Kirklees Stadium, Huddersfield 2013 World Cup Group Stage
16 November 2013 Flag of France.svg France 22,276 DW Stadium, Wigan 2013 World Cup Quarter-Final
5 November 2016 Flag of Scotland.svg Scotland 21,009 Ricoh Arena, Coventry 2016 Four Nations Group Stage
14 October 1995 Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa 14,014 Headingley, Leeds 1995 World Cup Group Stage
1 November 2000 Flag of Russia.svg Russia 5,736 Knowsley Road, St. Helens 2000 World Cup Group Stage
5 November 2006 Flag of Samoa.svg Samoa 5,698 KCOM Stadium, Hull Federation Shield
19 October 2013 Flag of Italy.svg Italy 4,382 Salford City Stadium, Salford Friendly
12 November 2006 Flag of Tonga.svg Tonga 3,000 Halton Stadium, Widnes Federation Shield

Highest Home All-Time

2013 World Cup Semi-Final Flag of New Zealand.svg New Zealand 67,545 Wembley Stadium, London 23 November 2013
1995 World Cup Final Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia 66,540 Old Wembley, London 28 October 1995
2015 Baskerville Shield Flag of New Zealand.svg New Zealand 44,393 Olympic Stadium, London 7 November 2015
2011 Four Nations Round Robin Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia 42,344 Wembley Stadium, London 5 November 2011
1995 World Cup Group Stage Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia 41,271 Old Wembley, London 7 October 1995
2016 Four Nations Round Robin Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia 35,569 Olympic Stadium, London 13 November 2016
2011 Four Nations Final Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia 34,174 Elland Road, Leeds 19 November 2011
2000 World Cup Group Stage Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia 33,758 Twickenham, London 28 October 2000
2018 Baskerville Shield Flag of New Zealand.svg New Zealand 32,186 Elland Road, Leeds 11 November 2018
2009 Four Nations Final Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia 31,042 Elland Road, Leeds 14 November 2009

Other England teams

England Nines

The England nines squad for the 2019 Rugby League World Cup 9s.

Pos. PlayerDate of Birth (age)AppearancesptsClub
Back Gareth Widdop 12 March 1989 (age 32)418 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves
Back Sam Tomkins 23 March 1989 (age 32)414 Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons
Back Jermaine McGillvary 16 May 1988 (age 33)38 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants
Back Reece Lyne 2 December 1992 (age 28)20 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity
Back Ryan Hall 27 November 1987 (age 33)44 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney Roosters
Back Ash Handley 16 February 1996 (age 25)310 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos
Back Jake Connor 18 October 1994 (age 26)28 Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C.
Back Jacob Trueman 16 February 1999 (age 22)30 Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers
Back Blake Austin 1 February 1991 (age 30)24 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves
Back George Williams 31 October 1994 (age 26)20 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders
Forward Tom Burgess 21 April 1992 (age 29)40 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs
Forward James Graham 10 September 1985 (age 35)30 St. George Illawarra colours.svg St George Illawarra Dragons
Forward Ryan Sutton 2 August 1995 (age 25)35 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders
Forward Liam Watts 8 July 1990 (age 31)30 Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers
Forward Daryl Clark 10 February 1993 (age 28)44 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves
Forward Elliott Whitehead 4 September 1989 (age 31)45 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders

England Knights

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

England A

Famous players

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

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