England national rugby league team

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

Team information
NicknameWall of White , Three Lions
Governing bodyRugby Football League
Head coachWayne Bennett
CaptainSean O'Loughlin
Most capsJames Graham (44)
Top try-scorerRyan Hall (35)
Top point-scorerKevin Sinfield (202)
RLIF ranking3rd
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
Appearances6 (first time in 1975)
Best resultRunners-up; 1975, 1995, 2017

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. Wayne Bennett is the head coach, and Sean O'Loughlin the captain.

From 2020, England will compete against Australia for the Rugby League Ashes. Formerly the Ashes were contested between Great Britain and Australia up until 2003.


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 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

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

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-present: 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 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, will feature England for the first time.


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 there 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 Strip1975 WC1995 WC2000 WC2008 WC2011-2012
2013 WC2014-20162017 WC2018-

Kit suppliers and sponsors

Period Manufacturers Sponsors
1995-1999 Puma John Smiths
2000-2007Patrick Lincoln Financial Group
2008-2010 Puma Gillette
2010-2015 ISC
2015 BLK
2016-2017 Kingstone Press Cider
2018-2021 Hummel Dacia
  • In a test match against France on 22 October 2016, Kingstone Press was replaced by Rugby to the Core due to the Evin law.


  • The Lions crest

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 Rampant lion as crest.

  • 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.

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 Wayne Bennett
Assistant coach Paul Anderson
First team coach Paul Wellens
Team manager Jamie Peacock
Fitness coach Chris Baron
Media Manager
Physiotherapist David O’Sullivan

Current squad

The England national team squad for the 2018 autumn internationals.[34]

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Pts Club
Fullback Stefan Ratchford (1988-07-19) 19 July 1988 5 8 Warrington Wolves
Fullback Sam Tomkins (1989-03-23) 23 March 1989 25 74 Wigan Warriors
Wing Tom Johnstone (1995-08-13) 13 August 1995 1 12 Wakefield Trinity
Wing Tommy Makinson (1991-03-12) 12 March 1991 4 16 St Helens
Wing Jermaine McGillvary (1988-05-16) 16 May 1988 16 48 Huddersfield Giants
Centre Jake Connor (1994-10-02) 2 October 1994 4 34 Hull F.C.
Centre Oliver Gildart (1996-08-06) 6 August 1996 3 4 Wigan Warriors
Centre Reece Lyne (1992-12-02) 2 December 1992 1 0 Wakefield Trinity
Centre Mark Percival (1994-05-29) 29 May 1994 5 10 St Helens
Stand-off Jonny Lomax (1990-09-04) 4 September 1990 9 0 St Helens
Stand-off George Williams (1994-10-31) 31 October 1994 10 4 Wigan Warriors
Scrum-half Richie Myler (1990-05-21) 21 May 1990 7 50 Leeds Rhinos
Prop George Burgess (1992-04-21) 21 April 1992 15 8 South Sydney Rabbitohs
Prop Tom Burgess (1992-04-21) 21 April 1992 24 8 South Sydney Rabbitohs
Prop James Graham (1985-09-10) 10 September 1985 43 12 St George Illawarra Dragons
Prop Chris Hill (1987-11-03) 3 November 1987 28 0 Warrington Wolves
Prop Luke Thompson (1995-04-27) 27 April 1995 4 4 St Helens
Hooker Daryl Clark (1993-02-10) 10 February 1993 8 4 Warrington Wolves
Hooker Josh Hodgson (1989-10-31) 31 October 1989 18 12 Canberra Raiders
Second-row John Bateman (1993-09-30) 30 September 1993 15 20 Canberra Raiders
Second-row Joe Greenwood (1993-04-02) 2 April 1993 0 0 Wigan Warriors
Second-row Elliott Whitehead (1989-09-04) 4 September 1989 19 36 Canberra Raiders
Loose forward Adam Milner (1991-12-19) 19 December 1991 3 0 Castleford Tigers
Loose forward Sean O'Loughlin (Captain) (1982-11-24) 24 November 1982 24 20 Wigan Warriors


  • As of 11 November 2018
  • Bold- denotes player still active at club level

Most capped players

# Name Career Caps Tries Position
1 James Graham 2008– 44 3 PR
2 Ryan Hall 2009– 38 35 W
3 James Roby 2008– 31 5 HK
4 Chris Hill 2012– 29 0 PR
5 Gareth Widdop 2010– 28 7 SO
6 Kevin Sinfield 2000–2013 27 5 SO
7 Ben Westwood 2004–2013 26 3 SR
8 Sean O'Loughlin 2009– 25 5 LF
Sam Tomkins 2009– 25 18 FB
Kallum Watkins 2012– 25 12 CE
Tom Burgess 2013– 25 3 PR
12 Adrian Morley 2000–2012 23 1 PR
Sam Burgess 2008–2018 23 8 SR
14 Joe Egan 1943–1950 21 1 HK
Jamie Peacock 2000–2011 21 8 PR
16 Ken Gee 1943–1951 20 1 PR
Elliott Whitehead 2014– 20 7 SR
18 Ernest Ward 1941–1952 19 2 FB
Roger Millward 1969–1978 19 3 W
Josh Hodgson 2014– 19 3 HK

Top try scorers

# Name Career Tries Caps Position
1 Ryan Hall 2009– 35 38 W
2 Sam Tomkins 2009– 18 25 FB
3 Alf Ellaby 1927–1935 13 8 W
4 Rob Burrow 2003–2013 12 15 HK
Kallum Watkins 2012– 12 25 CE
Jermaine McGillvary 2015– 12 17 W
7 Keith Fielding 1975 11 8 W
Tom Briscoe 2009– 11 15 W
9 Charlie Carr 1924–1928 9 7 W
Mark Calderwood 2004–2008 9 9 W
Josh Charnley 2012– 9 8 W

Top points scorers

# Name Career Points Caps Position
1 Kevin Sinfield 2000–2013 202 27 SO
2 Gareth Widdop 2010– 171 28 SO
3 Ryan Hall 2009– 140 38 W
4 George Fairbairn 1975–1981 118 16 FB
5 Andy Farrell 1995–2001 78 11 SO
6 Sam Tomkins 2009– 74 25 FB
7 Ernest Ward 1941–1952 58 19 FB
8 Jimmy Ledgard 1947–1955 54 12 FB
9 Jamie Rooney 2006 52 4 SO
10 Richie Myler 2008– 50 8 SH

Team Records

  • Biggest win:
110-0 v.  United States (at Orlando, Florida, October 2000)
  • Biggest loss:
52-4 v.  Australia (at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, 2 November 2008)
  • Highest all-time attendance:
67,545 v.  New Zealand (at Wembley, 23 November 2013)


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

Competitive record

Overall record

England have played 206 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.

England played their 206th game when they took on New Zealand in the third 2018 test at Elland Road, Leeds.

Opponent Matches Won Drawn Lost Win %
 Aotearoa Māori10100%
Combined Affiliated States1100100%
 New Zealand20911045%
Other Nationalities1791753%
 Papua New Guinea4400100%
 South Africa1100100%
 United States1100100%

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
Year Round Position Pld Win Draw Loss
1954 Did not enter
1975 Final 2nd out of 5 9 5 2 2
1977 Did not enter
1995 Final 2nd out of 10 5 4 0 1
2000 Semi-final 4th out of 16 5 3 0 2
2008 Semi-final 3rd out of 10 4 1 0 3
2013 Semi-final 3rd out of 14 5 3 0 2
2017 Final 2nd out of 14 6 4 0 2
2021 Qualified

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
Year Round Position Pld
2009 Final 2nd out of 4 5
2010 Group Stage 3rd out of 4 4
2011 Final 2nd out of 4 5
2014 Group Stage 3rd out of 4 4
2016 Group Stage 3rd out of 4 4

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
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

Year Position Played Won Draw Lost
2006 Federation Shield Winners 4 0 0 0
2015 Baskerville Shield Winners 3 2 0 1
2018 Baskerville Shield Winners 3 2 0 1


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

World Cup 033
Four Nations 022

World Ranking

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


Highest Home Per Nation

23 November 2013 New Zealand67,545Wembley Stadium, London2013 World Cup Semi-Final
28 October 1995 Australia66,540Old Wembley, London1995 World Cup Final
21 October 1995 Wales30,042Old Trafford, Manchester1995 World Cup Semi-Final
11 October 1995 Fiji26,263Central Park, Wigan1995 World Cup Group Stage
2 November 2013 Ireland24,375Kirklees Stadium, Huddersfield2013 World Cup Group Stage
16 November 2013 France22,276DW Stadium, Wigan2013 World Cup Quarter-Final
5 November 2016 Scotland21,009Ricoh Arena, Coventry2016 Four Nations Group Stage
14 October 1995 South Africa14,014Headingley, Leeds1995 World Cup Group Stage
1 November 2000 Russia5,736Knowsley Road, St. Helens2000 World Cup Group Stage
5 November 2006 Samoa5,698KCOM Stadium, HullFederation Shield
19 October 2013 Italy4,382Salford City Stadium, SalfordFriendly
12 November 2006 Tonga3,000Halton Stadium, WidnesFederation Shield

Highest Home All-Time

2013 World Cup Semi-Final New Zealand67,545Wembley Stadium, London23 November 2013
1995 World Cup Final Australia66,540Old Wembley, London28 October 1995
2015 Baskerville Shield New Zealand44,393Olympic Stadium, London7 November 2015
2011 Four Nations Round Robin Australia42,344Wembley Stadium, London5 November 2011
1995 World Cup Group Stage Australia41,271Old Wembley, London7 October 1995
2016 Four Nations Round Robin Australia35,569Olympic Stadium, London13 November 2016
2011 Four Nations Final Australia34,174Elland Road, Leeds19 November 2011
2000 World Cup Group Stage Australia33,758Twickenham, London28 October 2000
2018 Baskerville Shield New Zealand32,186Elland Road, Leeds11 November 2018
2009 Four Nations Final Australia31,042Elland Road, Leeds14 November 2009

Other England teams

England Nines

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

Pos. Player Date of Birth (age) Appearances pts Club
Back Gareth Widdop (1989-03-12) 12 March 1989 4 18 Warrington Wolves
Back Sam Tomkins (1989-03-23) 23 March 1989 4 14 Catalans Dragons
Back Jermaine McGillvary (1988-05-16) 16 May 1988 3 8 Huddersfield Giants
Back Reece Lyne (1992-12-02) 2 December 1992 2 0 Wakefield Trinity
Back Ryan Hall (1987-11-27) 27 November 1987 4 4 Sydney Roosters
Back Ash Handley (1996-02-16) 16 February 1996 3 10 Leeds Rhinos
Back Jake Connor (1994-10-18) 18 October 1994 2 8 Hull FC
Back Jacob Trueman (1999-02-16) 16 February 1999 3 0 Castleford Tigers
Back Blake Austin (1991-02-01) 1 February 1991 2 4 Warrington Wolves
Back George Williams (1994-10-31) 31 October 1994 2 0 Canberra Raiders
Forward Tom Burgess (1992-04-21) 21 April 1992 4 0 South Sydney Rabbitohs
Forward James Graham (1985-09-10) 10 September 1985 3 0 St George Illawarra Dragons
Forward Ryan Sutton (1995-08-02) 2 August 1995 3 5 Canberra Raiders
Forward Liam Watts (1990-07-08) 8 July 1990 3 0 Castleford Tigers
Forward Daryl Clark (1993-02-10) 10 February 1993 4 4 Warrington Wolves
Forward Elliott Whitehead (1989-09-04) 4 September 1989 4 5 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

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


  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.today 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". abc.net.au. 12 October 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  9. "Australia 52-4 England". theguardian.com. 2 November 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  10. "Rancour at 'diver' Luke cannot hide ineptitude that makes England the World Cup's laughing stock". theguardian.com. 10 November 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  11. "England to face up to haka at final". stuff.co.nz. 14 November 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  12. "Smith cleared of blame for World Cup farrago". theguardian.com. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  13. "France 12-66 England: Richie Myler stars as Lions romp to victory". mirror.co.uk. 14 June 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  14. "Tomkins brothers Sam and Joel set to be named in Steve McNamara's first England squad". dailymail.co.uk. 1 June 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  15. "Autumn International Series: England thrash Wales". bbc.com. 27 October 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  16. "Sam Tomkins fires warning to France with England try-scoring record". metro.co.uk. 4 November 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  17. "England 18 New Zealand 20: Last-gasp heartbreak as late penalty and Sinfield's missed tackle put holders into Cup final". dailymail.co.uk. 24 November 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  18. "England target Kiwi revenge after TV denies last-minute try against Australia". theguardian.com. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  19. "Four Nations: England denied late try as Australia win in Melbourne". skysports.com. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  20. "England demolish France 84-4 in record win". skysports.com. 24 October 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  21. "England resist late fightback from New Zealand for series win". skysports.com. 14 November 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  22. "James Graham happy to be England's most capped player, but expects to be overtaken". dailymail.co.uk. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  23. "Wayne Bennett and England to have pre-season camp and play mid-year international". skysports.com. 20 July 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  24. "Cunningham blasts Bennett's 'unfair' England plans". sthelensreporter.co.uk. 1 July 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  25. "England: Wayne Bennett's pre-season Dubai training camp cancelled". bbc.com. 22 December 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  26. "Wayne Bennett: England coach accepts blame for Super League club conflict". bbc.com. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  27. "ENGLAND PERFORMANCE SQUAD TRAIN FOR FIRST TIME". rugby-league.com. 27 February 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  28. "'Absolute joke': England great slams Wayne Bennett". au.sports.yahoo.com. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  29. "Wayne Bennett slammed over England selection of Chris McQueen, Chris Heighington". foxsports.com.au. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  30. "Rugby League World Cup: England & Tonga coaches dispute controversial late call". bbc.com. 25 November 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  31. "Rugby League World Cup: England beat Tonga 20-18 to set up final with Australia". bbc.com. 25 November 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  32. "Rugby League World Cup: Australia beat England 6-0 to retain trophy". bbc.com. 2 December 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  33. "Bennett urged to stay on as England coach". nz.news.yahoo.com. 3 December 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  34. "Five uncapped players in England squad". www.rugby-league.com. 3 October 2018.
  35. "Gildart to replace Burgess for England". rugby-league.com. 9 October 2018.
  36. "Richie Myler called into England squad". rugby-league.com. 14 October 2018.
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