England rugby ace to play for Hurst Green FC

Will Greenwood. Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire
Will Greenwood. Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire

Will Greenwood once said he would swap his England World Cup winners’ medal for a chance to play up front for Hurst Green Football Club.

Now his village team has granted the Blackburn-born rugby union star his wish.

Hurst Green, who play in the West Lancashire League First Division, have arranged a special friendly in Greenwood’s honour next month.

Greenwood, educated at Stonyhurst Saint Mary’s Hall, starred in the 2003 World Cup final against Australia, won by Jonny Wilkinson’s last-minute.

And he said: “People ask me if I have any regrets in life?

“Just one – that I never wore the Hurst Green Football Club shirt. That’s how much it means to me.

People ask me if I have any regrets in life? Just one – that I never wore the Hurst Green Football Club shirt.

Will Greenwood

“I was always looking over our garden fence on Smithy Row, Hurst Green going, ‘Go on, give us a shout – pick me!’”

He added: “I can’t believe I’m going to wear the number nine top finally.”

Hurst Green vice chairman Ian Barton said: “Will Greenwood is our number one fan – and the game is a way of saying thank-you to Will for all his support over the years.

“Will did a sportsman’s dinner for us at Longridge, and Brian Ashton, and it raised £7,000.

“That helped the club gain admission to the West Lancashire League with the ground improvements that we were able to make.

“He has played a huge role. Now he can live the dream by wearing the number nine shirt for the village team he has always supported.”

The match will see Hurst Green FC take on a Hurst Green X1 and will take place on Sundayat 2 p.m.

Any money raised will be donated to the charity of Greenwood’s choice.