From the Spotlight to the Scrum: Celebrities Who Played Rugby

Rugby, a physically demanding and exhilarating sport, has attracted players from all walks of life. Even celebrities, better known for their roles in the spotlight, have found their way onto the rugby field. In this article, we’ll explore a list of notable celebrities who have dabbled in the world of rugby. These individuals have demonstrated their prowess on the field, showcasing that the allure of rugby knows no bounds.

  1. Russell Crowe

Known for his award-winning performances in films like “Gladiator” and “A Beautiful Mind,” Russell Crowe is also recognized for his love of rugby. Crowe is the co-owner of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, a rugby league team in the National Rugby League (NRL) in Australia. His passion for rugby league has extended to active involvement in the club’s management and recruitment. Crowe’s dedication to the sport has been instrumental in the Rabbitohs’ resurgence.

  1. Jonny Wilkinson

Jonny Wilkinson, the iconic English rugby player, is widely regarded as one of the best fly-halves in the history of the sport. Known for his exceptional kicking and drop goal prowess, Wilkinson’s rugby career was illustrious, with the pinnacle being the dramatic drop goal that secured England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup victory. After retiring from professional rugby, Wilkinson worked as a kicking coach and made a cameo appearance in the popular British television series “Made in Chelsea.”

  1. Jason Statham

The British actor and former competitive diver, Jason Statham, is celebrated for his roles in action-packed films like “Crank” and “The Transporter” series. Few know that Statham also has a rugby background. He played for the French national team as a prop during his earlier years. His physicality and athleticism, honed during his rugby days, certainly play a role in his success as an action star.

  1. Prince Harry

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, is known for his royal duties and philanthropic work. However, he’s also passionate about rugby. He played rugby during his school years at Eton College and, in 2019, became the Patron of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the Rugby Football League (RFL). His involvement in promoting the sport has garnered significant attention and support for rugby in the United Kingdom.

  1. Mike Tindall

Mike Tindall, the former England international rugby player, not only achieved fame for his on-field performances but also for his marriage to Zara Phillips, the Queen’s granddaughter. Tindall had a distinguished rugby career, earning 75 caps for the England national team and winning the 2003 Rugby World Cup. His contribution to rugby continues as a television pundit and commentator.

  1. Freddie Flintoff

Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff, the former English cricketer turned television presenter, participated in a charity rugby match to raise funds for the Jonny Wilkinson Foundation. Known for his competitive spirit, Flintoff demonstrated his versatility by showcasing his rugby skills on the field. His charismatic presence and love for rugby have endeared him to fans of both sports.

  1. Chris Chittell

Chris Chittell, best known for his role as Eric Pollard in the long-running British soap opera “Emmerdale,” also has a rugby connection. He played rugby for Hull Kingston Rovers, a rugby league club in the United Kingdom, before pursuing his acting career. Chittell’s love for rugby remains evident, and he occasionally takes part in charity rugby events.

  1. Eric Liddell

Although primarily remembered as the protagonist in the iconic film “Chariots of Fire,” Eric Liddell, a Scottish Olympic athlete, was also an accomplished rugby player. He represented Scotland in international rugby during the early 1920s. Liddell’s athletic prowess was not confined to the track, as he excelled on the rugby field as well.

  1. Sir Anthony Hopkins

Sir Anthony Hopkins, a legendary actor renowned for his portrayal of iconic characters such as Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs,” had a brief but impactful rugby career. He played for the Welsh national team in the 1960s before deciding to pursue acting. Hopkins’ passion for rugby remains a cherished part of his past.

  1. Clive Woodward

Sir Clive Woodward, a former English rugby coach, is best known for his role in leading the England national team to victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup. In addition to his coaching career, Woodward had a cameo appearance in the popular British soap opera “EastEnders.” His unique experience and insights into rugby have made him a valuable commentator and pundit.

  1. Matthew Rhys

Matthew Rhys, the acclaimed Welsh actor recognized for his role in “The Americans” and “Perry Mason,” also played rugby during his school years. Born in Cardiff, Wales, Rhys’s rugby background reflects his Welsh heritage. His on-screen versatility mirrors the multifaceted nature of rugby.

  1. Omid Djalili

Omid Djalili, a British-Iranian comedian and actor, played rugby in his younger years. His quick wit and humor have entertained audiences around the world. While comedy is his primary domain, Djalili’s experience in rugby has undoubtedly contributed to his agility on stage.

  1. Jeremy Renner

Jeremy Renner, known for his roles in the “Avengers” film series as Hawkeye, has showcased his athletic abilities in various action-packed scenes. Before entering the world of acting, Renner was a skilled athlete who played rugby at Modesto Junior College in California. His background in rugby may have contributed to his physical prowess on the big screen.

  1. Prince William

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, has a rich history of involvement in sports, including rugby. During his school years at Eton College, he participated in rugby matches. His commitment to promoting sports and well-being has extended to his royal duties and various charity initiatives.

  1. Jamie Roberts

Jamie Roberts, a Welsh international rugby player, made a guest appearance in the popular British medical drama series “Casualty.” Roberts, known for his powerful runs and hard-hitting tackles on the rugby field, showcased his acting abilities in a different arena. His cameo appearance highlighted the versatility of professional athletes beyond their primary careers.


Rugby is a sport that transcends boundaries and attracts individuals from diverse backgrounds and professions, including celebrities. The celebrities mentioned in this article have all demonstrated their passion for rugby in various ways, whether through their on-field performances, active involvement in the sport, or by using their influence to promote rugby on a broader scale.

The stories of these celebrities who played rugby serve as a reminder that rugby is a sport that can unite people, regardless of their fame or occupation. It emphasizes the sport’s ability to instill values of teamwork, camaraderie, and dedication, values that are cherished not only on the field but also in life beyond the try line. Rugby’s appeal extends far beyond the scrum and tackle, attracting both fans and players from all walks of life, creating a global community bound by their love for the game.

Recent Posts