England World Cup winner Jason Leonard joins British and Irish Lions board
Last Updated: 02/10/17 9:55pm
Jason Leonard has become the first player from the professional era to be appointed to the British and Irish Lions board.
England's most capped international Leonard, a three-time Lions tourist in 1993, 1997 and 2001, has been chosen alongside new Rugby Football Union chief executive Steve Brown as Twickenham's representatives on the 11-strong board.
The World Cup-winning prop, 49, who retired in 2004 after 114 England caps and five for the Lions, will be welcomed by those who believe the tourists' hierarchy needed an injection of fresh blood from a more current figure in the game.
Leonard and Brown replace 2017 tour manager John Spencer and former RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie respectively.
"We welcome Jason and Steve to the board," Lions chairman Tom Grace said. "Jason will bring both a player's and administrator's perspective. Steve's recent appointment as CEO is testament to the confidence the RFU have in him and we believe the Lions will also benefit from his involvement.
"The appetite and support for the Lions has never been stronger and we are looking forward to Jason and Steve's contribution. I'd like to thank John and Ian for their contribution to the Lions."
The Lions board is made up of the chief executives of the four home unions, four nominated Lions representatives from the home unions, the chief executive, finance director and the chief operating officer.
Leonard held the post of the Rugby Football Union's president from June 2015 to June 2016 which coincided with the home 2015 World Cup tournament, won by New Zealand.