If you see a red rose, you know it means England

Two red roses, with white ribbons on the sterms

Ugo Monye loves having a pumped-up crowd behind him and a rose on his shirt.

England's head coach Stuart Lancaster says that crowd support can provide that extra 10 per cent to one of his players' performances. After talking to Ugo Monye, you'd put that figure an awful lot higher.

The Harlequins and England winger thrives on the buzz created by a rugby crowd, particularly the one at Twickenham internationals these days.

Not only are the Twickenham crowd passionate but they also understand the game I'm nervous before every single game – it doesn't matter the size of the crowd, says Monye, who won the last of his 14 England caps in November 2012 but is eager for more.

But as soon as I run down the tunnel and hit the pitch, all of that dissipates. I hear the crowd, I react to them. Their energy, their excitement gets me excited. When you hear that from 80,000 spectators at Twickenham it makes me eager to get into the game.

Wingers have a special relationship with a rugby crowd, partly because, as Monye says, they are usually so close to them as they race up and down the touchlines. And it's wingers, with their pace, their side-steps and their try-scoring threat, that many in the crowd have come to see.

Monye loves this responsibility. All wingers are confident, they are showmen, he says. You want that expectancy, from your team-mates but from the crowd, too. You can hear the crowd murmuring even before you've touched the ball sometimes.

But while Monye appreciates the support the Twickenham crowd gives to wingers, and the atmosphere they create, he is also impressed by their all-round knowledge.

I'm a back and I love wide play and seeing wingers get the ball - but the Twickenham crowd will celebrate a Jonny May try as much as they'll celebrate a good scrum from Dan Cole. Not only are they passionate but they also understand the game.

Monye was first capped by England in 2008, when he was 25. And, perhaps surprisingly, he's grateful that first cap didn’t come sooner.

If I'd played for England at 20 it would have just been about me - about me playing for England. You look at the guys today and it's all about the team: how you can improve the team, how the team can build.

When that cap did come, it was a massive moment for Monye. And it hit him when he woke up in the team hotel on the morning of his debut, against the Pacific Islanders at Twickenham.

I saw my presentation jacket over the back of the chair and I just saw the word 'England’'on the back of the jacket. Up until that point it had a completely different meaning: it was where I was born, where I grew up, somewhere I was proud to be associated with. But that day, when I looked at the word, I saw what it represented. Then I picked up the jacket, put it on and looked in the mirror and saw the rose. And I don't care where you are in the world, if you see a red rose, you know it means England.


At the elite level in sport, the power of support can be the difference between victory and defeat. Stuart Lancaster, England's head coach, calls it that extra 10 per cent. In 2015, you can be that difference. O2 is calling on the country to get behind the England rugby team - to show the symbol that represents the very heart of England - the Red Rose. Wearing the rose may be an individual act, but it's a collective demonstration of support for England Rugby. So get your England rugby shirt on - over your jumper, unzip your jacket. Whether you're at Twickenham, in the pub or at home, get behind the team. If everyone stands up to Wear the Rose, the England players will feel stronger, faster and perform better. They will feel like giants.

Join the movement.
Show it.
Wear it.
Share it.

For more on #WearTheRose and England Rugby, go to