Will Carling was England's youngest and the world's most successful rugby captain, taking on the position at the age of 22 and steering the side to memorable back-to-back Grand Slam wins in 1991, 1992 and 1995 and to the World Cup Final, prior to taking retirement in 1996.
England's dramatic win over the touring All-Blacks in November 1993 meant that Will captained a winning team at least once against all of the world's major rugby playing nations.
Will Carling began his career for the England Schoolboys team in 1982, having played at Sedbergh, the same school that produced 1920s English great William Wakefield. He played centre and led England on 59 occasions between 1988 and 1996.
During that stretch, England won 44 times and earned the Five Nations Championship plus an appearance in the championship game of the 1991 Rugby World Cup. His captaincy coincided with England’s most successful run since the 1920s.
Will played a total of 72 Test matches for England and one for the British Lions (now the British and Irish Lions). Despite his success as captain, he was briefly and infamously stripped of his title after he described the Rugby Football Union executives as “57 old farts” in 1995.
Away from rugby, his business pursuits have been equally as impressive as his on-field playing successes. In 1991, he founded and became Managing Director of a company which presents motivational seminars to Captains of Industry by Captains of Sport.
He also set up a sports hospitality and event management company whose clients included Reuters, Ericsson, Racal, BEA Systems, Intermec, Merrill Lynch and Regus.
Will Carling has written several books about his life and playing career, including Will Carling: My Autobiography (1998). He also published The Way to Win: Strategies for Success in Business and Sport (1996; written with Robert Heller).
In 1991, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and won the ITV Sports Personality of the Year in Britain.