Badge of England team
Team information
NicknameWall of White, Three Lions
Governing bodyRugby Football League
Head coachShaun Wane
CaptainGeorge Williams
Most capsJames Graham
Ryan Hall (45)
Top try-scorerRyan Hall (39)
Top point-scorerKevin Sinfield (202)
IRL ranking3rd
First colours
Team results
First international
 England 9–3 Other Nationalities
(Wigan, Lancashire; 5 April 1904)
Biggest win
 United States 0–110 England 
(Orlando, Florida; October 2000)
Biggest defeat
 Australia 52–4 England 
(Melbourne, Victoria; 2 November 2008)
World Cup
Appearances7 (first time in 1975)
Best resultSilver Runners-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 and Scotland, 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 Australia and New Zealand. Shaun Wane is the head coach, and George Williams the captain.


Pre–1995: Foundations and European Championships

For most of its history, England has been represented by the Great Britain national rugby league team in tours and world cups. The only competitive exception to this was the European Championship. England, in its early years, would also play regular friendlies against Wales to ensure the strength of the Great Britain side.

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 "One-off" World Cup

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.

1995–2007: Regular World Cup appearances

1995 World Cup

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]

2007–present: Break up of Great Britain

Following the 2007 All Golds Tour, Great Britain splits into separate home nations teams meaning England would represent itself in all international rugby league competitions.

2008–2009: Tony Smith era

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]

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]

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]

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.

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]

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.

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]

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]

Bennett only named one NRL player, 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 two-year contract with the intention of leading England in the 2020 Ashes series and the 2021 World Cup.[34]

England started the 2021 Rugby League World Cup with a 60-6 victory over Samoa and finished top of their group after winning all three pool matches. England would then defeat Papua New Guinea to reach the semi-final. In the semi-final, England would lose 27-26 against Samoa during golden point extra-time.[35][36] In October and November 2023, England played in the 2023 Tonga rugby league tour of England. The Three Lions would win the series 3-0.[37]


Kits and colours

England traditionally play in white, their early colours were white with red and gold stripes while later they played in white and red hoops. They occasionally play in a red away kit but colour clashes are rare and they rarely wear an away kit.

In the 1975 World Cup they played in a fully white kit. While they predominately played in white and red blue was also occasionally incorporated into the kit. It wasn't until 1995 when the St George’s cross was first integrated into the kit.

Ahead of the 2021 World Cup a radical New England kit was released which was white with navy blue shoulders and cross.

Kit evolution

Early Strips 1975 WC 1995 WC 2000 WC 2008 WC 2009-2010
2011-2012 2013 WC 2014-2016 2017 WC
2018-2019 2020-2021 2021 WC
England fans create an England flag ahead of the launch of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup at St James' Park

Kit suppliers and sponsors

Period Manufacturers 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 Oxen
2022–2026 Betfred


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. They also showed every game at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in addition to women's and wheelchair games.

The BBC pundits ahead of the launch of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup

Coaching staff

See also: England national rugby league team head coach

Head coach England Shaun Wane
Assistant coach England Paul Anderson
First team coach England Paul Wellens
Team manager England Jamie Peacock
Fitness coach England Chris Baron
Media Manager England
Physiotherapist David O’Sullivan
Performance Analyst England Barry Frost

Current squad

Squad selected for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup (played in 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Player Caps Points Club
Sam Tomkins 33 86 France Catalans Dragons
Andy Ackers 2 8 England Salford Red Devils
Joe Batchelor 1 4 England St Helens
John Bateman 20 28 England Wigan Warriors
Tom Burgess 28 28 Australia South Sydney Rabbitohs
Mike Cooper 12 0 England Wigan Warriors
Herbie Farnworth 3 4 Australia Brisbane Broncos
Ryan Hall 45 156 England Hull Kingston Rovers
Chris Hill 33 0 England Huddersfield Giants
Morgan Knowles 4 0 England St Helens
Matty Lees 3 4 England St Helens
Tommy Makinson 8 82 England St Helens
Michael McIlorum 8 0 France Catalans Dragons
Mike McMeeken 4 4 France Catalans Dragons
Mikolaj Oledzki 2 0 England Leeds Rhinos
Kai Pearce-Paul 1 4 England Wigan Warriors
Victor Radley 4 4 Australia Sydney Roosters
Marc Sneyd 2 44 England Salford Red Devils
Luke Thompson 5 4 Australia Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Kallum Watkins 28 60 England Salford Red Devils
Jack Welsby 4 4 England St Helens
Elliot Whitehead 23 40 Australia Canberra Raiders
George Williams 14 16 England Warrington Wolves
Dom Young 4 36 Australia Newcastle Knights


This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (September 2023)
Player Year Club Ref.
Denis Betts 1995 Auckland Warriors
Andy Farrell 1996–2001 Wigan Warriors
Jamie Peacock 2008–2011 Leeds Rhinos
Kevin Sinfield 2011–2015 Leeds Rhinos
Sean O'Loughlin 2015–2018 Wigan Warriors [38]
Sam Tomkins 2021–2023 Catalans Dragons [39]
George Williams 2023–present Warrington Wolves [40][41]


Most capped players

James Graham is England's most capped player
No. Name Career Caps Tries Position
1 Ryan Hall 2009–2022 47 40 W
2 James Graham 2008–2020 46 3 PR
3 Chris Hill 2012– 40 0 PR
4 James Roby 2008–2022 37 6 HK
5 Sam Tomkins 2009-2022 36 23 FB
6 Tom Burgess 2013– 34 7 PR
7 Kallum Watkins 2012– 32 16 CE
9 Gareth Widdop 2010–2022 30 8 SO
Kevin Sinfield 2000-2013 30 5 SO
10 Ben Westwood 2004–2013 29 3 SR

Top try scorers

Ryan Hall is England's all-time top try scorer
No. Name Career Tries Caps Position
1 Ryan Hall 2009–2021 39 45 W
2 Sam Tomkins 2009–2022 21 33 FB
3 Kallum Watkins 2012–2021 15 28 CE
4 Alf Ellaby 1927–1935 13 8 W
Tommy Makinson 2018– 13 8 W
6 Jermaine McGillvary 2015–2022 12 17 W
Tom Briscoe 2009–2020 12 15 W
8 Billy Dingsdale 1928-1933 11 7 W
Mark Calderwood 2004–2008 11 9 W
Elliot Whitehead 2014– 11 24 SR

Top points scorers

Kevin Sinfield is England's top points scorer
No. Name Career Points Caps Position
1 Kevin Sinfield 2000–2013 220 27 SO
2 Gareth Widdop 2010–2022 177 28 SO
3 Ryan Hall 2009–2022 156 45 W
4 George Fairbairn 1975–1981 96 16 FB
5 Sam Tomkins 2009–2022 92 33 FB
6 Tommy Makinson 2018– 82 10 W
7 Andy Farrell 1995–2001 78 11 SO
8 Ernest Ward 1941–1952 61 19 FB
9 Jim Lomas 1903-1912 60 13 FB
10 Rob Burrow 2004-2013 60 15 SH

Team Records

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


  • 5:
Tommy Makinson v.  Papua New Guinea (at DW Stadium, 5 November 2022)
  • 15:
Wayne Godwin v.  Russia (at Moscow, 25 Oct 2004)
  • 34:
Wayne Godwin v.  Russia (at Moscow, 25 Oct 2004)

Competitive record

Main article: List of England national rugby league team results

Overall record

Below is a list of England's head-to-head record as of 4 November 2023.[45]

Positive balance (more Wins)
Neutral balance (Wins = Losses)
Negative balance (more Losses)
Opponent Matches Won Drawn Lost Win % For Aga Diff
 Aotearoa Māori 1 0 1 0 0% 18 18 0
 Australia 25 7 2 16 28% 281 558 –277
 Fiji 4 4 0 0 100% 196 22 +174
 France 52 43 2 7 82.69% 1,414 532 +882
 Greece 1 1 0 0 100% 94 4 +90
 Ireland 3 3 0 0 100% 104 28 +76
 Italy 1 0 0 1 0% 14 15 –1
 Lebanon 1 1 0 0 100% 29 10 +19
 New Zealand 19 9 1 9 47.37% 342 374 –32
Other Nationalities* 22 11 1 10 50% 458 423 +35
 Papua New Guinea 5 5 0 0 100% 190 56 +134
 Russia 2 2 0 0 100% 174 8 +166
 Samoa 5 4 0 1 85% 186 77 +109
 Scotland 1 1 0 0 100% 38 12 +26
 South Africa 1 1 0 0 100% 46 0 +46
 Tonga 6 6 0 0 100% 154 76 +78
 United States 1 1 0 0 100% 110 0 +110
 Wales 68 50 2 16 73.53% 1510 801 +709
Total 214 139 9 58 67.48% 5,532 3,010 +2,322

World Cup

Main article: Rugby League World Cup

See also: England at the Rugby League World Cup

England have competed seven times in the World Cup; in 1975, 1995, 2000, 2008, 2013, 2017 and 2021. 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 7 world cups, England have hosted matches in 8 different tournaments, including 3 that took part internationally. England have played 39 games in the world cup; winning 24, drawing 2 and losing 13. Of these losses, only two have been against a team other than New Zealand or Australia; Wales in 1975 and Samoa in 2021. England lost out on reaching the final in 2013, when New Zealand beat them 20-18 in the semi-final, 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. They again reached the semi-final, but lost 27-26, on a golden point after extra time, to Samoa.

World Cup Record
Year Round Position Pld Win Draw Loss Coach
France 1954 Competed as United Kingdom Great Britain none
Australia 1957
United Kingdom 1960
Australia New Zealand 1968
United Kingdom 1970
France 1972
Australia United Kingdom France New Zealand1975 Final 2nd out of 5 9 5 2 2 Alex Murphy
Australia New Zealand 1977 Competed as United Kingdom Great Britain none
England 1995 Final 2nd out of 10 5 4 0 1 Phil Larder
England Ireland FranceScotlandWales 2000 Semi-final 4th out of 16 5 3 0 2 John Kear
Australia 2008 Semi-final 3rd out of 10 4 1 0 3 Tony Smith
England Wales 2013 Semi-final 3rd out of 14 5 3 0 2 Steve McNamara
Australia New Zealand Papua New Guinea 2017 Final 2nd out of 14 6 4 0 2 Wayne Bennett
England 2021 Semi-final 3rd out of 16 5 4 0 1 Shaun Wane
2026 qualified

Four Nations

Main article: Rugby League 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 were hosted by England.

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

European Championship

Main article: Rugby League 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 Single Group Round Robin 1st out of 3 2
1935–36 2nd out of 3 2
1936–37 2nd out of 3 2
1938 3rd out of 3 2
1938–39 2nd out of 3 2
1945–46 1st out of 3 2
1946–47 1st out of 3 2
1947–48 1st out of 3 2
1948–49 2nd out of 3 2
1949–50 1st out of 4 3
1950–51 3rd out of 4 3
1951–52 2nd out of 4 3
1952–53 3rd out of 4 3
1953–54 1st out of 4 3
1955–56 3rd out of 3 2
1969–70 1st out of 3 2
1975 1st out of 3 2
1977 3rd out of 3 2
1978 1st out of 3 2
1979 1st out of 3 2
1980 1st out of 3 2
1981 2nd out of 3 2
1995 2nd out of 3 2
1996 1st out of 3 2
2003 Final 1st out of 6 3
2004 Final 1st out of 6 3
2005 to 2020 did not compete
Promotion and relegation era
Year League Round Position Pld W D L
2023 A TBA out of 8 Qualified

Tour competitions

The Ashes (vs  Australia)
Year Result
1908–2003 Compted as  Great Britain
Australia 2025 Future Event
England 2028
Baskerville Shield (vs  New Zealand)
Year Result
United Kingdom 2002 Compted as  Great Britain
United Kingdom 2007
England 2015 2–1
England 2018 2–1
New Zealand 2019 Compted as  Great Britain

Other tournaments

Year Position Played Won Draw Lost
England 2006 Federation Shield Winners 3 3 0 0




European Championship

Test Series


IRL Rankings

Official rankings as of 21 December 2023
Rank Change Team Pts %
1 Steady  Australia 100.00
2 Steady  New Zealand 91.00
3 Increase 1  England 74.00
4 Decrease 1  Samoa 70.00
5 Steady  Tonga 54.00
6 Steady  Papua New Guinea 50.00
7 Steady  Fiji 49.00
8 Increase 1  France 24.00
9 Decrease 1  Lebanon 24.00
10 Increase 3  Cook Islands 22.00
11 Decrease 1  Serbia 19.00
12 Increase 6  Netherlands 17.00
13 Increase 1  Italy 15.00
14 Increase 5  Malta 15.00
15 Increase 1  Greece 14.00
16 Decrease 4  Ireland 14.00
17 Decrease 6  Wales 13.00
18 Decrease 3  Jamaica 10.00
19 Decrease 2  Scotland 9.00
20 Increase 8  Ukraine 7.00
21 Increase 6  Czech Republic 7.00
22 Decrease 1  Germany 6.00
23 Increase 10  Philippines 6.00
24 Increase 5  Poland 6.00
25 Increase 1  South Africa 5.00
26 Decrease 4  Chile 5.00
27 Increase 4  Kenya 0.00
28 Increase 6  Norway 4.00
29 Decrease 6  Nigeria 4.00
30 Decrease 6  Ghana 4.00
31 Decrease 6  Brazil 4.00
32 Decrease 12  Turkey 3.00
33 Increase 4  United States 3.00
34 Increase 1  Bulgaria 3.00
35 Decrease 5  Cameroon 2.00
36 Increase 2  Montenegro 2.00
37 Decrease 5  Spain 2.00
38 Increase 6  Japan 1.00
39 New entry  Albania 1.00
40 Decrease 4  Colombia 1.00
41 Increase 6  El Salvador 1.00
42 New entry  North Macedonia 1.00
43 Decrease 1  Morocco 1.00
44 Decrease 3  Sweden 0.00
45 Steady  Bosnia and Herzegovina 0.00
46 Decrease 3  Canada 0.00
47 New entry  Niue 0.00
48 Decrease 9  Solomon Islands 0.00
49 Decrease 1  Belgium 0.00
50 Decrease 10  Hungary 0.00
51 Decrease 5  Vanuatu 0.00
52 Decrease 3  Argentina 0.00
53 Decrease 3  Denmark 0.00
54 Decrease 3  Latvia 0.00
55 New entry  Estonia 0.00
Complete rankings at INTRL.SPORT


Highest home per nation

Date Opposition Attendance Stadium Competition
23 November 2013 New Zealand New Zealand 67,545 Wembley Stadium, London 2013 World Cup Semi-Final
28 October 1995 Australia Australia 66,540 Old Wembley, London 1995 World Cup Final
15 October 2022 Samoa Samoa 43,199 St James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne 2021 World Cup Group Stage
21 October 1995 Wales Wales 30,042 Old Trafford, Manchester 1995 World Cup Semi-Final
11 October 1995 Fiji Fiji 26,263 Central Park, Wigan 1995 World Cup Group Stage
2 November 2013 Ireland Ireland 24,375 Kirklees Stadium, Huddersfield 2013 World Cup Group Stage
22 October 2022 France France 23,648 University of Bolton Stadium, Bolton 2021 World Cup Group Stage
5 November 2022 Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea 23,179 DW Stadium, Wigan 2021 World Cup Quarter-Final
5 November 2016 Scotland Scotland 21,009 Ricoh Arena, Coventry 2016 Four Nations Group Stage
29 October 2022 Greece Greece 18,760 Bramall Lane, Sheffield 2021 World Cup Group Stage
4 November 2023 Tonga Tonga 15,477 Headingley, Leeds 2023 Tonga tour
14 October 1995 South Africa South Africa 14,014 Headingley, Leeds 1995 World Cup Group Stage
1 November 2000 Russia Russia 5,736 Knowsley Road, St Helens 2000 World Cup Group Stage
19 October 2013 Italy Italy 4,382 Salford City Stadium, Salford Friendly

Highest home all-time

Competition Country Attendance Stadium Date
2013 World Cup Semi-Final New Zealand New Zealand 67,545 Wembley Stadium, London 23 November 2013
1995 World Cup Final Australia Australia 66,540 Old Wembley, London 28 October 1995
2015 Baskerville Shield New Zealand New Zealand 44,393 Olympic Stadium, London 7 November 2015
2021 World Cup Group Stage Samoa Samoa 43,199 St James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne 15 October 2022
2011 Four Nations Round Robin Australia Australia 42,344 Wembley Stadium, London 5 November 2011
1995 World Cup Group Stage Australia Australia 41,271 Old Wembley, London 7 October 1995
2021 World Cup Semi-Final Samoa Samoa 40,489 Emirates Stadium, London 12 November 2022
2016 Four Nations Round Robin Australia Australia 35,569 Olympic Stadium, London 13 November 2016
2011 Four Nations Final Australia Australia 34,174 Elland Road, Leeds 19 November 2011
2000 World Cup Group Stage Australia Australia 33,758 Twickenham, London 28 October 2000

England Knights

Main article: 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.

Famous players

See also: Category:England national rugby league team captains

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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  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.
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  5. ^ England Official Website – A Proud Past Retrieved on 18 June 2008.
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  38. ^ https://www.eurosport.com/rugby-league/wayne-bennett-confirms-sean-o-loughlin-will-continue-as-england-captain_sto5183058/story.shtml [bare URL]
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