On this day in 2004: Jason Robinson named as England’s first black captain

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

The announcement ahead of the clash with Canada at Twickenham also saw the ex-Wigan and Great Britain winger become the first former rugby league player to hold the role.

Robinson, aged 30 at the time, was Sale captain and had led them to the Premiership summit after seven wins from eight starts.

Robinson during a press conference after being named as captain (David Davies/PA).
Robinson during a press conference after being named as captain (David Davies/PA).

“There have been many highlights in my rugby career, and being England captain is certainly one of them,” said Robinson, who was deputising for the injured Jonny Wilkinson.

“It is not something I have deliberately sought with England or Sale, but I am enjoying being captain at my club and I am understandably excited at the prospect of being England captain at Twickenham on Saturday.

“I have been blessed with success in my rugby career, and I am grateful for that. But when new challenges such as the captaincy come along, I have no hesitation in accepting.”

England boss Andy Robinson said: “Jason is an outstanding member of the England team, who has led by example for the three years he has been playing international rugby union.

Robinson scores a try against Canada (David Davies/PA).
The match saw Robinson (bottom) score a hat-trick of tries as England won 70-0 (David Davies/PA).

“He has an exceptional record, not only in this sport but in rugby league, earning him the respect of the whole squad.

“This season, he is captain of Sale Sharks and doing a fantastic job, and I have no hesitation in offering him the captaincy in Jonny’s absence. I have no doubt that others could also have stepped up to the mark, but I am very satisfied Jason will do well in the role.”

The match against Canada five days later saw Robinson skipper England to a 70-0 victory, in which he scored a hat-trick of tries.