England rugby stars to follow in the footsteps of cricket heroes and receive New Year Honours if they triumph in the Rugby World Cup final against South Africa
England’s World Cup heroes are set to be given MBEs or OBEs if they beat South Africa on Saturday.
The New Year Honours list will feature more sport stars than any since the one that followed London 2012, with talks under way in government about how to reward Eddie Jones’ squad and plans are already in place to recognise England’s World Cup-winning cricketers.
As a Commonwealth citizen, Australian head coach Jones is also eligible for honours and could emulate Sportsmail columnist Sir Clive Woodward, who was knighted 38 days after leading England to their one previous World Cup triumph in 2003.
England's rugby stars could be in line for honours should they triumph in the World Cup final
The rugby squad could follow the England cricket team who are set to be awarded this year
All of Woodward’s players from that tournament in Australia received honours, with captain Martin Johnson and World Cup final match-winner Jonny Wilkinson promoted to CBE and OBE as they had previously been honoured and the rest of the squad receiving MBEs.
Eoin Morgan’s World Cup winners, and Australian coach Trevor Bayliss, will also be honoured six months after their extraordinary super over victory over be honoured six months after their extraordinary super over victory over New Zealand in the final at Lord’s.
Captain Morgan and Ben Stokes could be singled out for higher honours in recognition of their special contributions, with the Durham all-rounder’s match-winning innings in the Ashes Test at Headingley also a factor.
England's 2003 heroes were given honours and plans are in place for a parade should they win
Australia-born England coach Eddie Jones is eligible for honours as a Commonwealth citizen
The Government have also been involved in discussions with the RFU over a victory parade should England win the World Cup, with a route through central London pencilled in for Tuesday, followed by a reception at Downing Street. With Prime Minister Boris Johnson otherwise engaged, Sports Minister Nigel Adams will be the only Government representative at the final.
England also have a prime opportunity to secure a clean sweep of the main categories at World Rugby’s annual awards ceremony in Tokyo on Sunday if they beat South Africa tomorrow.
On Thursday, they were nominated for Team of the Year and Jones was named on the five-man shortlist for Coach of the Year. Joe Cokanasiga is one of three nominees for the Breakthrough Player prize and Maro Itoje and Tom Curry are potential candidates for Player of the Year.