Matt Dawson

Matt Dawson
Matt Dawson
Full name Matthew James Sutherland Dawson
Date of birth 31 October 1972 (1972-10-31) (age 39)
Place of birth Birkenhead, England
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Scrum-half
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
London Wasps
correct as of 11 Sept 2006.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1997, 2001, 2005
British and Irish Lions
correct as of 11 Sept 2006.
Sevens national teams
Years Club / team Comps
1993 England 1993 Sevens World Cup

Matthew James Sutherland "Daws" Dawson, MBE (born 31 October 1972 in Birkenhead) is a retired English rugby union player who played scrum half for Wasps and Northampton Saints. During his international career he toured with the British and Irish Lions three times and was part of England's 2003 Rugby World Cup winning side. He won 77 caps for his country in total, including nine as captain. He is England’s most capped scrum half.


Rugby career

He was best known for his trademark 'sniping runs' and played the whistle well, often scoring tries from 'tap and go' penalties. When called upon, he could also demonstrate his versatility by kicking goals.

He was educated at RGS High Wycombe and played his early club rugby with Marlow Rugby club. Dawson joined Northampton in 1991.

In 1993, Dawson was a member of the England Sevens team which won the first Sevens World Cup in Scotland alongside Andy Harriman, Adedayo Adebayo, Nick Beal, who is also an RGS old boy, Justyn Cassell, Lawrence Dallaglio, Damien Hopley, Tim Rodber, Dave Scully and Chris Sheasby. Dawson and Dallaglio are therefore the only players to have won World Cup Winners medals at both the 15 and 7 a side games.

Dawson made his international debut for England in December 1995, against Western Samoa, but would have to fight with Andy Gomarsall, Austin Healey but mostly Kyran Bracken for the England number 9 shirt.

Dawson went on the 1997 British Lions tour to South Africa as third-choice scrum half behind Rob Howley and Austin Healey but injury to Howley and some good performances saw him make the starting line-up. In the first test with ten minutes to go, Dawson broke from the base of a scrum and threw an overhead dummy that checked the four Springboks allowing him to scamper in for the winning try. That victory was the start of a 2-1 series win, clinched when he fed Jeremy Guscott for the series-winning drop goal.

He was captain in the 2000 Six Nations and often in the absence of Martin Johnson.

In 2001 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia, Dawson went as second-choice scrum half behind Howley. Howley played in the first two tests but was injured for the third, where Dawson played. Controversially however, Dawson was one of the mid-week side opposed to the actions of coach Graham Henry and criticised Henry publicly for his criticism, although this did not cause as much stir as Healey's similar comments.

Dawson became an integral part of the England side, winning his 50th cap against Ireland on the same day England won the Grand Slam in 2003. He was a crucial part of the team that won the 2003 Six Nations Grand Slam and World Cup. He played a vital role in winning the final tie against Australia in Sydney on 22 November 2003. With less than a minute remaining in extra time he made a completely unexpected break gaining a vital 20 metres upfield. From the subsequent maul he fed the ball to Jonny Wilkinson for the winning drop goal. Many people feel he deserves as much credit as Wilkinson for the final score which secured the victory.

In 2004 he moved from Northampton to Wasps, winning the Premiership title in his first season. Living in London allowed Matt to pursue a media career. In the autumn he failed to turn up to an England training camp due to a previously-arranged commitment to appear on A Question of Sport, resulting in him being dropped from the England squad for the 2004 Autumn internationals. A return to the 2005 Six Nations was expected and Dawson rejoined the Elite Player Squad for the tournament, playing well enough to earn a place on the 2005 British Lions tour to New Zealand, managed by Sir Clive Woodward.

Dawson returned to the England fold in 2005 but had limited opportunities in a disappointing Six Nations campaign as Harry Ellis started at number nine for four of the five matches.

On 7 April 2006, Dawson announced that he would be retiring from rugby completely at the end of the season and on 14 May 2006 he played his last game of premiership rugby, when Sale denied Wasps their chance of winning the Premiership title 4 years in a row and so equalling Leicester's record. Coaching is a possibility for him after leaving Wasps. [1]

Other work

In 2004, Matt Dawson joined the BBC TV quiz show A Question of Sport, featuring as a regular team captain opposite Ally McCoist and more recently, Phil Tufnell. [2]

In September 2006, he appeared in BBC One's Celebrity MasterChef programme, beating Roger Black and Hardeep Singh Kohli, to win the final.

He took part in Strictly Come Dancing in 2006, partnered by Lilia Kopylova. Although appearing initially to be an unlikely contender, he came second, only beaten in the final by cricketer Mark Ramprakash. He later returned to the show in 2008 to dance with Elaine Paige in Sport Relief does Strictly Come Dancing to raise money for Sport Relief, where they came second.

In January 2007, it was announced that Matt Dawson would be joining BBC Radio Five Live as summariser for the commentary on England's forthcoming Six Nations Championship games. He went on to cover the 2007 Rugby World Cup for the BBC.[3] He also presents 5-Live's weekly Rugby show. He was recently on an edition of TV poker special where he ended up coming a very close second.

2008 saw Matt Dawson co-hosting Mitch and Matt's Big Fish, a seafood lovers tour of the British coast, in which he and Mitch Tonks tasted and cooked a variety of fish dishes using the catch of the British fishing ports.

In 2010, Matt hosted Monster Munchies for Good Food, where he challenged two teams to make a monster sized local delicacy in 24 hours which were unveiled at a local show and were judged on size, presentation and taste, the size they were aiming for is that of a small car.

Charitable work

He is an Honorary President of the rugby charity Wooden Spoon improving the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in Britain and Ireland. He posed nude in the women's magazine Cosmopolitan in support of the testicular and prostate cancer charity Everyman.

Matt has been supporting the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) since 2004, and became a UNICEF UK ambassador in 2009. In June 2009 Matt took time out while broadcasting for the Lions tour in South Africa to visit UNICEF programmes focusing on education, shelter and HIV/AIDS.

He completed the 2007 London Marathon for charity in 4 hours 35 minutes and 39 seconds.

  • Patron of The National Hospital Development Foundation (NHDF)
  • Patron of Beating Bowel Cancer - a leading UK charity for bowel cancer patients, working to raise awareness of symptoms, promote early diagnosis and encourage open access to treatment choice for those affected by bowel cancer.

Other sporting and academic interests

  • Dawson played cricket for Buckinghamshire Under-18s as a wicketkeeper-batsman.
  • He also played football for Chelsea Schoolboys as a winger before deciding to concentrate on rugby.
  • Dawson is a keen supporter of Premiership side Everton Football Club.
  • Dawson was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College on 5 September 2007.

See also


  1. ^ "World Cup winner Dawson to retire". BBC Sport. 2006-04-07. Retrieved 2007-02-05. 
  2. ^ "Matt Dawson joins A Question of Sport". BBC Press Office. 2004-09-10. Retrieved 2007-02-05. 
  3. ^ "Dawson joins BBC Radio Five Live". 2007-01-16. Retrieved 2007-02-05. 

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Tony Diprose
English National Rugby Union Captain
Jun-Jul 1998
Succeeded by
Martin Johnson
Preceded by
Martin Johnson
English National Rugby Union Captain
Feb-Apr 2000
Succeeded by
Martin Johnson
Preceded by
Kyran Bracken
English National Rugby Union Captain
Oct 2001
Succeeded by
Neil Back

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