Bill Beaumont has been awarded a knighthood for services to rugby in The Queen’s New Year’s honours list.
Beaumont captained England to a Five Nations Grand Slam in 1980 and also led the British & Irish Lions.
The 66-year-old is a former Rugby Football Union chairman and was elected chairman of World Rugby in 2016.
‘I am honoured and humbled to receive this accolade from Her Majesty the Queen for services to rugby,’ he said. ‘I have always viewed my work in the sport as an administrator as that of a guardian, driven by a passion to do the very best I can for rugby and the people who give up their time every week on the touchlines at rugby clubs around the world to inspire new generations of players, supporters and volunteers. It is as much recognition for them and all who work in the sport as it is me.
‘Rugby has been my life for more than half a century and has given me so much joy as a player, a father of rugby-playing sons and an administrator. I am fortunate to be in a position to give back to the sport I love and I am as passionate now about rugby as I was when pulling on that Fylde, Lancashire, England or British & Irish Lions jersey.
‘Rugby has made great progress on and off the field in recent years and I believe that we are on an incredible journey with significant participation and fan growth, while 2019 is set to be a game-changer as we look ahead to the first World Cup in Asia.
‘In my opinion, rugby is the ultimate team sport – a sport with strong values and where the team is always greater than the individual – and I have been blessed to have played and worked with some superb people along the way who share the same passion for the betterment of the sport. There is, however, one person who has supported me above all else, through thick and thin, from my playing days to now – my wife Hilary – she has is my rock and inspiration.’
Meanwhile, former Scotland and British & Irish Lions lock Doddie Weir was made an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for services to rugby, to MND research and to the community in the Scottish Borders.