On This Day 2004: Jason Robinson becomes first black player to captain England

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Jason Robinson became the first black player to be named as England captain for a rugby union Test on this day in 2004.

The World Cup-winner was handed the role by head coach Andy Robinson in place of the injured Jonny Wilkinson for the Twickenham clash against Canada the following weekend.

Robinson, the Sale Sharks skipper, was also to become the first former rugby league player to lead the national side.

“It’s not something I have deliberately sought but I am understandably excited at the prospect of being England captain at Twickenham on Saturday,” said the full-back, who switched codes in 1999 after a glittering career in the 13-man game with Wigan.

Robinson scored a hat-trick against Canada
Robinson scored a hat-trick against Canada (David Davies/PA)

Robinson went on to mark the occasion in style by scoring a hat-trick in a 70-0 win. Josh Lewsey and Mark Cueto also scored two tries apiece with further touchdowns from Mike Tindall, Charlie Hodgson, Will Greenwood, Lewis Moody and Hugh Vyvyan.

“It’s great to be captain, score three and for the team to play like that is great,” said Robinson, who led England a further six times.

He retired in 2007 having won 51 England caps.

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