Known as Shaggy to his mates, Greenwood is one of rugby's and international sport's most engaging, intelligent, outspoken and witty characters.
A Lancastrian to the tips of this size 12 boots, the giant centre has been an automatic choice in the England XV since his debut against Australia in 1997.
A few months earlier he looked set to become only the third uncapped Englishman to play for the British Lions when he came within a whisker of losing his life after he was speared to the ground in a heavy tackle, lost consciousness and swallowed his tongue.
After taking several months to recover he quickly made an impact at international level following a widespread clamour in the press for his call-up to the England side.
An elegant riposte to the old jibe that England rugby players lack guile and imagination, the Harlequins' and former Leicester centre has brought a shimmering, magical quality to his team's back play, opening up defences with clever angled running, superb distribution and a gravity-defying ability to stay up in the tackle.
Greenwood also featured in England's doomed Rugby World Cup campaign in 1999 before playing a central role in the team's dramatic triumph in Australia four years later.
His life off the pitch has been no less eventful, he and his wife Caro having experienced extreme despair and joy in recent years with the loss of one son, Freddie, and the birth of another, Archie.