Martin Corry (rugby union)

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Martin Corry
Martin Corry.JPG
Birth nameMartin Edward Corry
Date of birth (1973-10-12) 12 October 1973 (age 48)
Place of birth Birmingham, England
Height6 ft 5 in (1.95 m)
Weight17 st 9 lb (112 kg)
SchoolTunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys
University Northumbria University [1]
Occupation(s) Retired Rugby Union player
Rugby union career
Position(s) Number eight, Flanker, Lock
Amateur team(s)
–1993 Tunbridge Wells ()
Senior career
1993–1995 Newcastle Gosforth ()
1995–1997 Bristol 32 (40)
1997–2009 Leicester Tigers 290 (135)
1998–2009 Barbarians 5 (5)
National team(s)
1994 England U21
1997–2007 England 64 (30)
2001, 2005 British & Irish Lions 7 (0)

Martin Edward Corry MBE (born 12 October 1973) is a retired English rugby union player who represented and captained England and Leicester Tigers in a career spanning 14 seasons. Corry played 64 times for England between 1997 and 2007, played 7 tests for the British & Irish Lions on tours in 2001 & 2005, and played 290 times for Leicester between 1997 and 2009. Earlier in his career he played top division rugby for Newcastle Gosforth and Bristol. A versatile player his principal positions were number eight and blindside flanker, he also played lock more as his career progressed.


Corry started the 2007 Rugby World Cup Final, and was an unused substitute as England won the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final. He was a Premiership Rugby champion six times (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007 & 2009) and European Champion twice in 2001 and 2002.

Early life

Born in Birmingham, Corry was educated at Tunbridge Wells Grammar School, [2] and first played rugby union for Tunbridge Wells minis.


University, Newcastle and England under 21s

Corry attended the University of Northumbria, impressing for their rugby team, [3] before being named as a reserve for a Courage League game for Newcastle Gosforth against Bath. [4] By April 1994 Corry had been called up for England under 21s and was described in the press as a "flanker of rare talent", [5] in October 1994 Corry was named as England under 21's captain. [6] Corry captained the under 21s to a victory over New Zealand Youth, and also captained Northumbria University to a British Universities championship. [7] Following Newcastle's failure to gain promotion in the 1994–95 Courage League National Division Two season Corry was one of a number of leading players who moved on, in his case joining Bristol. [8]

England debut, Leicester title win and 1999 Rugby World Cup

In 1995 he joined Bristol. In February 1997 he was named as part of a 62 man long-list for the 1997 British Lions tour to South Africa, one of three uncapped players at that stage, [9] but was not in the final squad, instead he made his England debut in May 1997 against Argentina. [10]

He moved to Leicester Tigers in the summer of 1997, despite having one year remaining on his Bristol contract, which prompted legal threats from Bristol. [11]

Corry made his Leicester debut on 30 August 1997 against Gloucester at Welford Road, [2] and despite being sent off in a 15 all draw against Northampton Saints played 27 times across number 8, flanker and lock in his first season. [12] The following season saw Corry establish himself as Tigers first choice number 8, starting 29 times in the season; Corry made amends for his red card the previous season as he scored a crucial try in a 1st v 2nd match against Northampton, the 22-15 win effectively sealed the first of Leicester's four successive Premiership Rugby titles. [13] [14]

After selection for the 1999 Rugby World Cup, Corry returned to Leicester on 30 October 1999 scoring a try against Bedford Blues in a 61-12 win. Corry was then an ever present as Tigers lost only 1 game in 16 to retain the Premiership Rugby title, he also captained the side for the first time in a European game against Leinster. [15]

European titles and first Lions tour

2000-01 season saw Corry again be a regular member of Leicester pack, switching between flanker and number 8 with Will Johnson, he played 30 times as Tigers retained the Premiership Rugby title for a third straight year. [16] This season Tigers also progressed in Europe; Corry started as Leicester beat Swansea in the quarter finals and Gloucester in semis, [17] Corry started the 2001 Heineken Cup Final at blindside flanker as Leicester beat Stade Français 34-30. [18]

In 2001 he was called up to the British and Irish Lions side after the tour had started, due to injuries within the squad, and immediately impressed Graham Henry, the Lions coach. He started the first test in the absence of the injured Neil Back, and replaced the injured Richard Hill in the second before starting the third test in the absence of Hill. He played in the delayed Six Nations decider in Dublin in October 2001 for England.

Corry missed much of the first half of the 2001-02 season with injury and international call ups but returned in December to be an ever-present until Leicester secured their fourth straight Premiership Rugby title on 13 April 2002 against Newcastle Falcons at Welford Road. [19] Corry started the 2002 Heineken Cup Final where Leicester beat Munster, they were the first side to retain the European trophy. [20]

2003 Rugby World Cup, England captaincy and second Lions tour

He confirmed his selection for Clive Woodward's Rugby World Cup squad in a highly competitive back row area with a strong late run in England's warm-up matches: he performed well in the 43–9 defeat of Wales at the Millennium Stadium in late Summer of 2003 and then again in the September defeat of France at Twickenham. He was part of England's 2003 World Cup-winning squad, chosen ahead of teammate Graham Rowntree. During the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Corry flew home from Australia for the birth of his first child, daughter Eve. He rejoined the squad days later, and played in England's victory over Uruguay. He was an unused replacement in the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final.

In 2005, he was named as England Captain for the Six Nations match against Italy and Scotland, in the absence of Jason Robinson. Leicester reached the semi-finals of the 2004-05 Heineken Cup, but Corry missed the semi final defeat by Toulouse due to suspension following a red card against Saracens. [21] However, in May 2005 he was named as both the player of the 2004-05 Premiership Rugby season at the end of year awards, [22] and the players' player of the season. [21] Despite the individual accolades Leicester were to come up short losing the Premiership final to Wasps.

In the summer he was selected for his second Lions tour, this time to New Zealand, and was made vice-captain for the first test. He went on to captain the team from the 2nd minute onwards as Brian O'Driscoll was injured in a notorious spear tackle incident. However, he was dropped for the final two tests in favour of Ryan Jones.

Leicester captain

Corry was named as Leicester's new club captain in August 2005, taking over after the retirement of Martin Johnson. [23] Following his selection on the 2005 Lions tour Corry returned ahead of schedule to captain the club in the first match of the season, playing 48 minutes in a 32-0 win over Northampton. [24] He was again selected as England's captain for the 2005 autumn internationals and 2006 Six Nations tournament. Corry played 24 times for Leicester that season as they reached a European quarter-final, and an Anglo-Welsh semi-final, before losing to the Sale Sharks in the 2006 Premiership final.

Tigers gained some revenge for that loss in the opening game of the 2006-07 Premiership Rugby season, Corry particularly impressing and scoring in a 35-23 win against Sale. [25] [26] He continued as England captain for the 2006 Autumn Internationals, in which England lost to New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa. Following these results, England Head coach Andy Robinson left his post and was replaced by Brian Ashton. In his first squad selection as England coach, Ashton named Corry in the starting line-up for the 2007 Six Nations opener against Scotland, though he was replaced as captain by Phil Vickery. Corry remained in the side as the tournament progressed, but in the final two games of the tournament (against France and Wales) he was moved to lock.

Corry captained Leicester in the 2007 Anglo-Welsh Cup Final, a 41-35 win that ended a 5 year trophy drought for the club. [27] A week later Corry was selected as Man of the match when Leicester beat the Scarlets 33-17 in the 2007 Heineken Cup semi-final. [28] Corry won his fifth Premiership medal, starting the final and scoring a try as Leicester defeated Gloucester to secure the domestic double. [29] They could not make it a treble though, losing the 2007 Heineken Cup Final to Wasps, 25-9.

2007 Rugby World Cup and final seasons

In 2007, Corry formed part of the Ashton's Rugby World Cup squad in which England progressed to the Final in Paris but were ultimately unable to defend their world title, losing to South Africa. The following year, Corry reportedly turned down Ashton's offer of a place in the England's squad for the opening fixture of their 2008 Six Nations campaign, instead announcing his retirement from international rugby at the age of 34. This move was made in order that he could focus on his remaining club career with Leicester tigers. [30] [31]

Following the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Corry returned to Leicester as captain. His regular position switched to blindside flanker to accommodate Jordan Crane who had come into the side in Corry's absence. [32] Corry started the 2008 Anglo-Welsh Cup Final, which ended in defeat to the Ospreys, [33] and the 2008 Premiership final, where Wasps were once again winners in a Twickenham showpiece final. In April 2008, Corry signed a one year contract extension with Leicester. [34]

Corry's final season saw him play mainly at lock, Tom Croft had developed and was now first choice blindside flanker. His final game for Leicester was on 24 January 2009, in a European Cup match against the Ospreys. He announced his retirement at the end of the 2008-2009 season. [35] [36] Following Leicester's victory in the 2009 Premiership Rugby Final Corry was on hand to lift the trophy, despite not playing, [37] and the following week he captained the Barbarians against England at Twickenham, to a 33–26 victory in his final match of his career. [38]

Personal life

Corry flew back from Australia during the 2003 World Cup for the birth of his first child, a daughter called Eve. He rejoined the squad just a few days later. His son Edward was born soon after the end of the 2006 Six Nations Championship and daughter Tess was born in 2009.


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  1. Cleary, Mick (8 January 2008). "England start life after Martin Corry". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
  2. 1 2 Farmer & Hands 2014, p. 357.
  3. Alan Hedley (29 October 1992). "Corry shines as sorry Teeside are thrashed" . Newcastle Journal. p. 42.
  4. "Merritt turns back clock to answer emergency call" . Newcastle Journal. 12 November 1993. p. 59.
  5. Alan Hedley (28 April 1994). "Back to basement rugby" . Newcastle Journal. p. 35.
  6. Alan Hedley (27 October 1994). "Metcalf:My debt to Mike" . Newcastle Journal. p. 31.
  7. Alan Hedley (19 December 1994). "Just the place for a fly half" . Newcastle Journal. p. 31.
  8. Duncan Madsen (11 May 1995). "Putting the boot in" . Newcastle Evening Chronicle. p. 25.
  9. "De Glanville left out of Lions squad" . Aberdeen Evening Express. 17 February 1997. p. 36.
  10. "Six new caps for England" . The Irish Independent. 30 May 1997. p. 22.
  11. "Rugby Union: Bristol clamp down on Corry" . The Independent. 23 July 1997. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  12. Farmer & Hands 2014, p. 263.
  13. Farmer & Hands 2014, pp. 262–264.
  14. "History". Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  15. Farmer & Hands 2014, p. 271.
  16. Farmer & Hands 2014, p. 272.
  17. "Leicester power into Heineken final". BBC Sport. 21 April 2001. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  18. "European glory seals Leicester treble". BBC. 19 May 2001. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  19. "Leicester crowned champions". BBC. 13 April 2002. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  20. "Tigers retain European Cup". BBC. 25 May 2002. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  21. 1 2 Paul Kitson (12 May 2005). "Corry celebrates but regrets lost weekend". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  22. Paul Rees (5 May 2005). "Corry named player of the season". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  23. "Corry named as Leicester captain". BBC Sport. 5 August 2005. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  24. "Leicester 32-0 Northampton". BBC Sport. 3 September 2005. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  25. Chris Hewitt (3 September 2006). "Leicester 35 Sale 23: Corry's Tigers win battle of heavyweights". The Independent. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  26. "Leicester 35-23 Sale". BBC Sport. 3 September 2006. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  27. Rob Kitson (16 April 2007). "Leicester thwart Ospreys to end their trophy drought". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  28. "Leicester v Scarlets - Tigers quotes". BBC Sport. 21 April 2007. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  29. "Premiership final". BBC. 12 May 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  30. The Times – Brian Ashton pays tribute to Martin Corry
  31. "Corry retires from England duty". BBC Sport. 8 January 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
  32. Paul Ackford (16 December 2007). "Jordan Crane builds a towering reputation" . Telegraph. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  33. "2008 EDF Energy Cup final". BBC Sport. 12 April 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  34. "New Tigers deal for Corry". ESPN. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  35. "Leicester Tigers' Martin Corry calls time on playing career". The Telegraph. London. 9 May 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  36. "Veteran Corry retires from rugby". BBC News. 9 May 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  37. "Leicester 10-9 London Irish: Jordan Crane's late try clinches title for Tigers". Daily Mirror. 17 May 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  38. "Corry set to captain Barbarians". BBC Sport. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
English National Rugby Union Captain
Mar 2005 – Mar 2006
Nov 2006
Sep 2007
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Brian O'Driscoll
Tour Captain
injured as active captain
British and Irish Lions Captain
Remained Tour Captain
Jun 2005
As Active captain
Succeeded by
Brian O'Driscoll
Tour Captain
Gareth Thomas
as active captain