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Luther Burrell says rugby is changing for the better with report into racism allegations expected imminently

Maggie Alphonsi and Floyd Steadman among those honoured at inaugural Rugby Black List Awards, which celebrates contribution of Black people within game; former England centre Luther Burrell believes rugby has "come a long way" in terms of diversity but says there is still more to be done

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Former England rugby union international Luther Burrell says he expects the findings of an RFU investigation into his allegations of racism in the sport to be released 'imminently'

Luther Burrell believes rugby union has "come a long way" as he revealed he expects the findings of an RFU investigation into his allegations of racism to be released soon.

Former Newcastle and Northampton centre Burrell said last year that racism within rugby was "rife" and "widespread" and that "racial banter" had become "normalised" in the dressing room.

However, the 35-year-old, who represented England 15 times between 2014 and 2016, believes the game is in "a good place" albeit while insisting that there is more work to be done.

Burrell was speaking at the inaugural Rugby Black List Awards at the House of Lords, which celebrates the contribution of Black people within rugby union, with Floyd Steadman and Maggie Alphonsi among those honoured.

Burrell told Sky Sports News: "I have had some feedback and reports back. There are a few processes left to the investigation so it is going to be imminent. I would just ask people to remain patient.

Maggie Alphonsi believes that an England vs New Zealand World Cup Final would be brilliant for rugby as it rides a wave of momentum.
Image: Maggie Alphonsi was presented with the Life In Sport accolade at the first Rugby Black List Awards

"I do think rugby is changing.

"When we talk about the women's game and the diverse people that are involved with this sport, the people up for these awards, you can't help but say the game has gone in a different direction since I started.

"It is still slightly mind-boggling that we are still talking about racial issues but we have come such a long way in the last 10 years. I think rugby is in a good place but it's only the start.

"This event is only the start and the more we can group together, bang the drum and stay on the same narrative the greater the game is going to be."

Alphonsi, Genge and Brown among those honoured

Winners at the Rugby Black List Awards included former Saracens captain Steadman, 2014 World Cup winner Alphonsi, 2002 World Cup winner Jason Robinson and ex-England skipper Maxine Edwards, each of whom landed the Life in Sport Awards.

The recently-retired Shaunagh Brown, England star Ellis Genge, Bath and England prop Beno Obano and Jamaica team manager Hughton Campbell were also honoured.

Ellis Genge (PA Images)
Image: Bristol Bears' former Leicester skipper Ellis Genge won the Men's Performance of the Year Award

Brown, part of the England squad that reached the Women's World Cup final in 2022, won the Women's Performance of the Year, with Genge taking Men's Performance of the Year.

Genge was named in the World 15 Team of the Year in 2022 after successfully captaining Leicester to their first Premiership title in nine years.

Obano won the Future Leader Award, while Campbell won the Team Manager prize.

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