New Rugby Football Union chair Tom Ilube reveals his ambitious plans to drive the game forward

New Rugby Football Union chair Tom Ilube reveals his ambitious plans to drive the game forward


It has taken till 2021 for a black particular person to run a serious sporting governing physique on this nation – however now proud as the first, new Rugby Football Union chair Tom Ilube is prepared to set his imaginative and prescient for the game.

As somebody who escaped Idi Amin’s henchmen in Seventies Uganda this can hardly be his hardest problem.

‘I’m extremely proud to be taking up this position,’ Ilube mentioned in his first public engagement succeeding Andy Cosslett in March.

Tom Ilube is the first black particular person to run a serious sporting governing physique on this nation

‘I’m actually happy that rugby was the sport that made somebody the first black chair.

‘I’m fairly snug being that particular person.’

Born in 1963 to a Nigerian father and British mom Ilube, 58, went to Teddington School – a drop-kick from his workplace now at Twickenham – however moved to Uganda when his soldier dad was posted there.

‘At the time Idi Amin took over which was fairly energetic,’ Ilube added.

‘At one level I used to be tied up and almost shot by, by safety guys, for some random cause.’

After surviving that he thrived first gaining a physics diploma in Nigeria, then as a multi-faceted businessman.

Ilube spent 15 years as a ‘touchline dad’ following his son Matthew

Ilube turned out for London Welsh as a child

Ilube turned out for London Welsh (R) and his son Matthew (L) performed for Wasps and Newcastle

Ilube’s spectacular cv contains high-powered jobs at British Airways, Goldman Sachs, the London Stock Exchange, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, he has began colleges in Hammersmith, Lancashire and Ghana, was latterly a non-executive director at the BBC and is at present on the board of FTSE 100 firm WPP.

A rugby lover at coronary heart, having turned out for London Welsh as a toddler, he spent 15 years as a ‘touchline dad’ following his son Matthew who was in the Wasps and Newcastle setups.

Now as RFU Chair he is aware of variety is excessive on the agenda. With present England gamers speaking of the game as nonetheless having a lingering ‘male, pale and rancid’ picture, what does Ilube suppose?

‘There’s this notion in some individuals’s minds and that doesn’t fairly marry up with the actuality,’ he answered.

‘Having people like Ellis Genge and others being actually fairly assured in the approach they discuss their backgrounds is nice.

‘I’m not posh, I don’t come from a complicated background. I’m a state college educated, foster care form of man and I’m chair of the RFU. I believe we will change perceptions over time.

‘Talking to black gamers in the game, they actually love rugby and what the game has executed for them. Everyone has totally different views however individuals really feel that the game might do extra.

England star Ellis Genge (above) among the players now challenging the image of rugby

England star Ellis Genge (above) amongst the gamers now difficult the picture of rugby

‘I used to be speaking to a senior black ex-Army man who performed rugby in his day and he was saying that the management qualities and ethos you get in rugby, we must be promoting these.

‘Because even when individuals don’t need to play rugby, if they’ll take up these pushed, team-focused, win, bounce-back time of qualities, that can have an effect on their lives anyway.’

Admitting he likes profitable, Ilube is ambitious about his England groups and the RFU’s future.

He sees a time the place the males’s and ladies’s groups are world champions and desires to host the World Cup in 2031, however believes England doesn’t make the most of its expertise.

‘Those that might be in the England crew in 2031, who’re 12, 13, 14, 15-year-olds as we speak, I actually need to have a way of what journey they’re occurring and whether or not we’re going to produce an entire technology of world class gamers,’ he mentioned.

‘I’m not sure our system repeatedly generates these completely world class gamers and I believe that if we’re going to be at our rightful place, England ought to persistently be ranked one and two in the world.

‘Year after yr after yr we must be there and to do this we want that cohort of completely world class gamers so one thing about the system wants to generate them.’

While this won’t look his most daunting problem, with planning a sustainable approach out of Covid, wrestling with variety, participant welfare considerations, booming the ladies’s game and figuring out rugby’s place in the calendar, Ilube desires the sport to look forward not again.

New RFU chief sees a time where the men’s and women’s teams are world champions

New RFU chief sees a time the place the males’s and ladies’s groups are world champions

‘Everyone is aware of what occurred 10, 20, 25 years in the past,’ he concluded.

‘Sometimes that is the place the conversations begin: “That chap I spoke to him 25 years in the past, and we did this…”

‘I hear barely much less dialog of individuals saying “that is what I believe rugby wants to appear to be by 2030” which isn’t that far forward.

‘We want a as clear a attainable sense of that, after which drive in direction of it.

‘The game is usually a lot larger than it’s now in impression and in cash coming into the game.

‘It might be two to 3 times the scale that that it’s now.’

And Ilube’s RFU hope to be at the coronary heart of the modifications to come.

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